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Voice Compare » Simpsons » Leon Kompowsky

Comparision of the voice over actors who have been the voice of Leon Kompowsky with sound clips and images.
Leon Kompowsky had a one episode guest spot on The Simpsons but the character is well known among fans and the history of the character's voice actors is an interesting story. Leon Kompowsky appeared in the episode "Stark Raving Dad" (season 3 episode 1). Leon was Homer Simpsons's room mate in the mental institution he was sent to. When they meet Leon claims to be Michael Jackson.

Jackson performed the speaking voice of Leon Kompowsky under the pseudonym John Jay Smith. Jackson was a fan of the show and called Matt Groening one night and offered to do a guest spot. The DVD commentary for this episode indicates that Jackson was not allowed to sing due to a contract obligation. Jackson also wrote the original song "Happy Birthday Lisa" for the episode. One of Jackson's conditions for guest starring was that he would voice himself, but a sound-alike would receive credit.

While he recorded the voice work for the character, all of his singing was performed by Kipp Lennon. Jackson thought it would be a great joke on his brothers and fool them into thinking the impersonator was him. Jackson's lines were recorded at a session by James L. Brooks. Lennon and Jackson recorded their parts at the same time, and Jackson found Lennon's impersonations hilarious. Jackson actually did record versions of the songs, and while there have been rumors that those tracks were the ones used in the final episode, Simpsons music editor Chris Ledesma says the Lennon versions were used. (To hear Michael Jackson's version of the "Happy Birthday Lisa" go to the youtube link provided below)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wxwYspOwQc

At the end of the episode "Michael Jackson" is revealed to be Leon Kompowsky and that he was only imitating the voice to make the world a better place.

The normal speaking voice of the character was voiced by VA Hank Azaria. The producers of the show were legally prevented from confirming Jackson guest starred at the time, although many media sources assumed it was really him. After this episode the producers decided that if a celebrity wished to guest star on the show, they had to be willing to be credited under their real name and not a pseudonym. Great secrecy surrounded the guest appearance for some time, and even Matt Groening, when appearing on the the Jay Leno show, did not openly reveal that it was Jackson (although he hinted strongly).

It wasn't until the episode "Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie" that a more open clue was given to viewers, when Lisa mentions that Dustin Hoffman and Michael Jackson made cameo appearances in the movie, stating, "They didn't use their real names, but you could tell it was them..." (Dustin Hoffman, of course, voiced Mr. Bergstrom in the episode Lisa's Substitute, and his guest appearance was similarly shrouded).

After Michael Jackson's death on June 25, 2009, "Stark Raving Dad" was dedicated in his memory. So to sum up everything I just said. Michael Jackson voiced Leon Kompowsky's "fake" voice. Hank Azaria voiced Leon Kompowsky's real voice. Kipp Lennon sang all songs in the episode for Leon Kompowsky ("Ben", "Billie Jean" and "Happy Birthday Lisa").
Created by Jackson_H on Thu Dec 24 2009, 12 Comments, Add Comment
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The Simpsons (1989)
Leon KompowskyMichael Jackson
Michael Jackson
The Simpsons (1989)
Leon KompowskyKipp Lennon
Kipp Lennon
The Simpsons (1989)
Leon KompowskyHank Azaria
Hank Azaria

EDITOR'S OPINION

This Voice Compare like some others I've done in the past is a bit tricky to analyze. Michael Jackson's voice was used for the majority of the episode so I'm probably favoring him. Kipp Lennon did a great job imitating Jackson's singing voice and Hank Azaria's voice was also a good voice for the "real" version of the character.

Jackson_H

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skeletonking1234
said at 10:34 AM on Fri Jun 20 2014
why do I have a feeling this thread is gonna have the finn the human effect where it was the number 1 VC for the longest time? Thank you Reddit...
NCZ (Admin)
said at 10:37 AM on Fri Jun 20 2014
@skeletonking1234 Myself personally, I can't really complain about free publicity.
CartmanKusanagi
said at 7:01 PM on Thu Jun 19 2014
I'm voting for Micheal, of course. Kipp's singing voice is pretty good, too, and he even went on to do Michael's singing voice in the minseries The Jacksons: An American Dream (which I recommend for anyone who is a fan of MJ).

Also, for anyone that is interested, I found a version of Happy Birthday Lisa on YouTube that was sung by Micheal rather than Kipp.
Ghosty404
said at 2:21 PM on Thu Jun 19 2014
How did he get popular all of a sudden?
NCZ (Admin)
said at 2:26 PM on Thu Jun 19 2014
@Ghosty404 http://www.reddit.com/r/todayilearned/comments/28jpac/til_that_despite_rumors_and_debate_michael/
Ross123
said at 10:50 AM on Wed Nov 6 2013
Michael Jackson is the better actor here though i'm surprised he didn't do the singing but Kipp was good at it but it wasn't the same.

Hank did not bad.
Minty123
said at 12:18 PM on Sun Jul 15 2012
Theyr'e all really good. I didn't know Michael Jasckson actually voiced this character :)
Music Meister (Moderator)
said at 7:07 PM on Thu May 12 2011
Is anyone else have difficulty with the sound with this one?
Minty123
said at 12:16 PM on Sun Jul 15 2012
@Music Meister yes
b (Guest)
said at 8:36 PM on Wed Jan 19 2011
Hank is the best he says it himself "This is my real voice"
markmarino (Guest)
said at 10:33 PM on Mon Jul 5 2010
wow the only character voiced by three people in one episode

farewell MICHAEL JACKSON and thank you
john (Guest)
said at 10:07 PM on Thu Dec 24 2009
Thanks I've always wondered what Kipp Lennon looked like.


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Who do you think has been the best from these Leon Kompowsky voice actors?
Michael Jackson
Kipp Lennon
Hank Azaria