The Simpsons' 25 best celebrity cameos ever (2023)

29 March 2023, 11:31

The Simpsons' 25 best celebrity cameos ever (1)

The Simpsons is the show that just keeps going.

The cartoon sitcom made stars of the dysfunctional Simpsons family of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie, who have become a staple of television viewing in family homes worldwide.

The Simpsons has parodied suburban life and all facets of American culture for over three decades now, and it looks like there's no sign of slowing down.

After first airing in 1989, the show (created by Matt Groening) changed the notion that "cartoons are just for kids" with a comedy that was loved equally by adults and their families.

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Aside from the escapades Homer and co. would get up to, The Simpsons championed the celebrity cameo, and became renowned for giving cultural icons their own yellow likeness.

From playing themselves or voicing various whacky characters in the long-running series, celebrity appearances helped establish The Simpsons as one of the greatest shows ever to air on television.

That said, here are the top 25 celebrity cameos in the sitcom's long history:

  1. 1. Sting

    The Simpsons' 25 best celebrity cameos ever (4)

    In the episode 'Radio Bart', Sting heads to Springfield to record a charity single after a child named Timmy O'Toole falls into the local well, which turns out to be a prank by Bart Simpson.

    After Bart tempts fate and falls into the well himself, it's Sting that comes to his rescue by digging him out, shirtless of course.

    (Video) The 25 best celebrity cameos on The Simpsons

  2. 2. Tom Jones

    The Simpsons' 25 best celebrity cameos ever (5)

    Legendary Welsh singer Tom Jones was snared for The Simpsons in the episode 'Marge Gets A Job' where he's kidnapped by Waylon Smithers and made to perform in a private concert for Marge and Homer.

    Hilariously, he secretly pleads to Marge during the performance: "Get help love. Call Interpol, get me a hacksaw, anything!"

  3. 3. Kelsey Grammer

    The Simpsons' 25 best celebrity cameos ever (6)

    Probably the most renowned and regular cameo during The Simpsons long time on air, is Kelsey Grammer as Bart's haplessly eloquent nemesis Sideshow Bob.

    Parodying Sir Anthony Hopkins' iconic portrayal of Hannibal Lecter, Grammer has appeared as Sideshow Bob in a total of 23 episodes, even dragging his on-screen Frasier brother David Hyde Pierce to voice Bob's sibling Cecil for several episodes.

  4. 4. Stephen Hawking

    The Simpsons' 25 best celebrity cameos ever (7)

    Ground-breaking theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking lent his instantly recognisable artificial voice to The Simpsons when he appeared in four episodes before he sadly passed away.

    His most notable appearance is his first however, in 'They Saved Lisa's Brain' when the town begins to riot and he makes a getaway after his wheelchair sprouts helicopter propellers.

  5. 5. Ringo Starr

    The Simpsons' 25 best celebrity cameos ever (8)

    The first of the three Beatles to appear on The Simpsons, Ringo Starr made his cameo in 'Brush With Greatness'.

    Marge develops a teenage obsession with Ringo painting portraits of him and sending him letters. After twenty or so years Ringo eventually replies to her fan mail, riffing on the fact he received oceans of fan mail that he regretfully pledged to answer.

  6. 6. George Harrison

    The Simpsons' 25 best celebrity cameos ever (9)

    The next Beatle immortalised on The Simpsons? George Harrison. He appears in 'Homer's Barbershop Quartet' where Homer meets the music icon, only to be impressed more by the free brownies on offer.

    There's another nod to The Beatles at the end of the episode where Homer's barbershop quartet perform their final gig on the rooftop of Moe's Tavern, mirroring the Fab Four's final ever performance.

  7. 7. Paul and Linda McCartney

    The Simpsons' 25 best celebrity cameos ever (10)

    Paul McCartney featured in The Simpsons with his wife Linda in the episode 'Lisa The Vegetarian'.

    The perfect episode for Paul and Linda to reiterate their vegetarian virtues, McCartney agreed to lend his voice upon the condition that Lisa remains a vegetarian for as long as the series continued, the first of a few permanent changes the show's producers made.

    (Video) The 25 best celebrity cameos on The Simpsons

  8. 8. Elton John

    The Simpsons' 25 best celebrity cameos ever (11)

    'Rocket Man' Elton John appears in The Simpsons episode 'I'm With Cupid', where he gets stranded at Springfield airport after the chandelier in his private jet malfunctions.

    After getting trapped in a dog cage and chewing himself out, he sings an adapted version of 'Your Song' as a Valentine's Day gift to Apu's wife Manjula.

  9. 9. Bette Midler

    The Simpsons' 25 best celebrity cameos ever (12)

    Voicing herself in the episode 'Krusty Gets Kancelled', Bette Midler is sought after by Bart and Lisa Simpson to help Krusty get back on his feet after his show's cancelled.

    On the show, Midler helps clean litter and punishes any litterers that cross her path, resulting in one littering driver on the highway exploding.

  10. 10. Dolly Parton

    The Simpsons' 25 best celebrity cameos ever (13)

    Appearing in the episode 'Sunday, Cruddy Sunday', Dolly Parton helps break the characters out of jail much like she's broken down perceptions of herself over her career.

    Of course, she does it with the style and pizazz we're all used to seeing Dolly offer up.

  11. 11. Johnny Cash

    The Simpsons' 25 best celebrity cameos ever (14)

    Johnny Cash's cameo in The Simpsons is one of the most iconic, even though he doesn't play himself.

    Cash voices the coyote Homer comes across whilst traversing the desert after eating too much chilli which sends him on a spiritual trip, who becomes his spirit guide.

  12. 12. U2

    The Simpsons' 25 best celebrity cameos ever (15)

    U2 featured as themselves in the episode 'Trash Of The Titans' after requesting to appear on the show.

    Homer, on his campaign to become Springfield's commissioner, gets off to an awful start after interrupting U2's concert so Bono and The Edge call security to get him ejected and beaten up.

  13. 13. Pierce Brosnan

    The Simpsons' 25 best celebrity cameos ever (16)

    Much like Johnny Cash, Pierce Brosnan's cameo wasn't as himself when he appeared as Ultrahouse 3000 Himself in the Halloween episode 'Treehouse of Horror XII', though he does appear as himself for a skit in the credits.

    A riff on the maniacal AI robot in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, Irish heartthrob Brosnan eventually traps the Simpson family in their own home and attempts to kill Homer.

    (Video) Best Simpsons Celebrity Moments

    Fun fact: the role was originally intended for Pierce's fellow James Bond icon Sean Connery who turned the opportunity down.

  14. 14. Mark Hamill

    The Simpsons' 25 best celebrity cameos ever (17)

    Star Wars hero Luke Skywalker even got The Simpsons treatment when Mark Hamill appeared in 'Mayored To The Mob'.

    Highlights of his shifty cameo is an appearance as the lead in an awful Guys & Dolls play (complete with lightsaber and top hat) and using the line "use the forks!"

  15. 15. Meryl Streep

    The Simpsons' 25 best celebrity cameos ever (18)

    A real coup for The Simpsons was securing Hollywood powerhouse Meryl Streep for the role of Jessica, the mischievous daughter of Reverend Lovejoy.

    After using Bart's crush on her to get him to take the blame for their troublemaking, the episode 'Bart's Girlfriend' won critical acclaim because of the three-time Academy Award-winning actress' turn.

  16. 16. The Who

    The Simpsons' 25 best celebrity cameos ever (19)

    The surviving members of rock legends The Who (Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, and John Entwistle) made their way to Springfield in the episode 'A Tale of Two Springfields' to break down the wall between 'Olde Springfield' and 'New Springfield' using nothing but the volume of their amps.

    Townshend in fact refused to appear on the show, so his cameo was voiced by his brother Paul instead.

  17. 17. James Woods

    The Simpsons' 25 best celebrity cameos ever (20)

    Actor James Woods gave the earlier episodes of The Simpsons one of their first show-stealing cameos, playing himself as he replaces Apu at the Kwik-E-Mart.

    Using the experience to research for an upcoming film role, Woods' mockery of over-the-top method acting was hilarious, who eventually quits the Kwik-E-Mart as his film role changes.

  18. 18. Cyndi Lauper

    The Simpsons' 25 best celebrity cameos ever (21)

    Cyndi Lauper appears in two episodes of The Simpsons as herself: firstly singing the national anthem to the tune of 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun' before departing the stadium, with the crowd following leading the commentator to wryly remind them that there's still a game to watch.

    Her second appearance was simply singing her classic song 'Time After Time'.

  19. 19. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards

    The Simpsons' 25 best celebrity cameos ever (22)

    In 'How I Spent My Strummer Vacation', Homer Simpson attends rock 'n' roll school which is spearheaded by The Rolling Stones legends Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

    (Video) Top 10 Rock Star 'Simpsons' Cameos

    This episode was one of the series most populated in terms of high-profile cameos, also featuring appearances from Lenny Kravitz, Tom Petty, and Elvis Costello.

  20. 20. Willie Nelson

    The Simpsons' 25 best celebrity cameos ever (23)

    Country music renegade Willie Nelson voiced himself in the episode 'Behind The Laughter' as he agrees to reconcile the Simpson family during a fake awards ceremony called 'The Phonys'.

    A highlight is the comb machine on his tour bus which creates elaborate hairstyles for him, poking fun at his iconic braids.

  21. 21. Dustin Hoffman

    The Simpsons' 25 best celebrity cameos ever (24)

    Dustin Hoffman was one of the show's earliest cameos, and certainly their most high-profile until that point, which helped the cameo trend kick on.

    He voiced substitute teacher Mr. Bergstrom who had a profound effect on Lisa Simpson, helping her to learn she can find role models in all adults, not just her teachers.

  22. 22. Leonard Nimoy

    The Simpsons' 25 best celebrity cameos ever (25)

    Star Trek's Leonard Nimoy boldly went where plenty of other men went before by voicing himself in The Simpsons on two occasions.

    He first appeared as the narrator for an X-Files-inspired Halloween episode, and later appeared as himself opening Springfield's new 'Monorail' where he'd comment: "I'd say this vessel could do at least Warp 5" before being teleported away.

  23. 23. Barry White

    The Simpsons' 25 best celebrity cameos ever (26)

    Love machine Barry White lent his distinctively deep and soulful voice to The Simpsons for the episode 'Whacking Day'.

    After being introduced as 'Larry White' ahead of the town's ritual of whacking snakes, White is disgusted and sings his hit 'Can't Get Enough Of Your Love, Babe' to drive them away to safety.

  24. 24. Adam West

    The Simpsons' 25 best celebrity cameos ever (27)

    Former Batman actor Adam West provided one of the most screwball cameos in the history of The Simpsons when he mocked his own career and connection to the caped crusader.

    Signing autographs at a car show alongside the 1966 Batmobile, West declares himself as the real Batman with Bart questioning who the actor even is. This actually started West's career as a comedy actor from then onwards.

  25. 25. Michael Jackson

    The Simpsons' 25 best celebrity cameos ever (28)

    Given he was the biggest pop star in the world at the time, snagging Michael Jackson for a cameo in The Simpsons was massive for the show. Although, he wasn't officially credited as Michael Jackson.

    (Video) #simpsons The Simpsons couch gag's season 1 to 34 #thesimpsons

    MJ voiced Leon Kompowsky in the episode 'Stark Raving Dad', who meets Homer in a psychiatric ward and introduces himself as Michael Jackson.

    Although Homer quickly befriends Leon who teaches him to Moonwalk, the people of Springfield denounce Leon as an imposter after realising he looks nothing like Jackson.

    Credited as John Jay Smith, Michael would only contribute his speaking voice due to contractual disputes, so Kipp Lennon would provide the singing vocals when Leon, Bart, and Lisa sing together at the end of the episode.


The Simpsons' 25 best celebrity cameos ever? ›

Actor Phil Hartman, who died in 1998, was the most recurring male guest actor on the show, appearing 52 times.

Who is the most famous person to appear on The Simpsons? ›

Actor Phil Hartman, who died in 1998, was the most recurring male guest actor on the show, appearing 52 times.

Who was the first Simpsons celebrity cameo? ›

The first credited guest star was Marcia Wallace who appeared in "Bart the Genius" in her first stint as Bart's teacher Edna Krabappel. Singer Tony Bennett was the first guest star to appear as himself, appearing briefly in the season two episode "Dancin' Homer".

Which five celebrities have guest starred on The Simpsons '? ›

The 10 Best Celebrity Guest Stars on 'The Simpsons'
  • Leonard Nimoy. In the episode “Marge vs. ...
  • Kelsey Grammer. Sideshow Bob, or Dr. ...
  • Phil Hartman. ...
  • Michelle Pfeiffer. ...
  • Johnny Cash. ...
  • Meryl Streep. ...
  • Glenn Close. ...
  • Dustin Hoffman.
Mar 21, 2022

What Rockstar cameos are in The Simpsons? ›

Here are some of our faves – let us know yours in the comments!
  • Aerosmith: 'Walk This Way' [Season 3] ...
  • RHCP: 'Give It Away' [Season 4] ...
  • The Ramones: 'Happy Birthday' [Season 5] ...
  • The Smashing Pumpkins: 'Zero' [Season 7] ...
  • Cyndi Lauper: 'Star Spangled Banner' [Season 10] ...
  • The Who [Season 12] ...
  • REM: End Of The World [Season 13]


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