Celebrity guest stars have been a staple of The Simpsons since it launched in 1989. While most guest stars in the Matt Groening-created series are TV and movie personalities, several recording artists, authors, athletes, politicians, and even scientists have also appeared on the show. In the early seasons of the animated sitcom, guest stars typically voiced original characters, but over the years, the number of those appearing as themselves has increased. As of April this year, around 900 guest stars have already been featured on the show. And as a refresher for all the fans of the series, we rounded up the most remarkable guest appearances on The Simpsons in the list below.
50 Cent as himself
Rapper 50 Cent voiced himself in a brief cameo in season 16, episode 9, titled Pranksta Rap, which found Bart escaping from Homer and Marge after they didn’t let him go to a rap concert.
While in Alcatraaz’s Hummer H1 limo, Bart encountered 50 Cent who was next to them in a golden Hummer H1 limo. The rapper told Bart to stay in school, saying: “The more you know, the further you go.” He then asks a court-ordered or a legal assistant if the advice he gave Bart counts for community service.
Adam West as himself and Batman
The late Adam West, who portrayed Batman in the 1960s ABC series of the same name, guest starred on The Simpsons twice. He first lent his voice to an animated version of himself in season 4, episode 9, titled Mr. Plow. In the said episode that originally aired in 1992, Homer purchased a snowplow truck and used it to start a business. West was one of his first customers.
Ten years later, in 2002, West returned to The Simpsons to voice Batman in season 14, episode 4, titled Large Marge. West’s Batman co-star Burt Ward was also featured in the episode as the voice of Robin.
Albert Brooks as Cowboy Bob
Albert Brooks, best known for his Oscar-nominated performance in the 1989 romantic dramedy film Broadcast News, has voiced seven different characters on The Simpsons. While most fans probably know him as the voice of Hank Scorpio, his most notable guest appearance on the show is when he voiced RV salesman Cowboy Bob in season 1, episode 7, titled The Call of The Simpsons.
The episode began with Homer and Bart doing yard work outside their house when Ned pulled up in his brand-new RV and gloated to the father and son duo. In an attempt to keep up with Ned, Homer took the family to Cowboy Bob’s RV Round-Up to buy an RV of their own. Cowboy Bob introduced Homer to an RV called the Ultimate Behemoth, but since its price was out of Homer’s price range due to his poor credit rating, the Simpsons patriarch ended up purchasing a dilapidated RV.
American Idol judges and host as themselves
One of the most special guest appearances on The Simpsons was when American Idol host Ryan Seacrest and judges Randy Jackson, Ellen DeGeneres, Kara DioGuardi, and Simon Cowell were all animated for the show.
That happened in season 21, episode 23, titled Judge Me Tender, where the cast of American Idol welcomed Moe as the new judge in the singing competition. While Moe was having the time of his life, Homer was stuck at home with Marge, much to her dismay.
Bette Midler as herself
Award-winning actress Bette Midler appeared as herself in season 4, episode 22, titled Krusty Gets Kancelled. Depicted as someone who is fiercely protective of the environment, Midler was one of the celebrities that Bart and Lisa recruited to appear in Krusty’s television comeback special after the latter’s show got canceled. Midler performed the song Wind Beneath My Wings with Krusty in the episode.
Midler’s guesting is considered one of the most memorable guest appearances on The Simpsons, as she appeared alongside several other celebrity guests, including Johnny Carson, Hugh Hefner, Luke Perry, Barry White, Elizabeth Taylor, and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Britney Spears as herself
Pop icon Britney Spears guest starred as herself in season 11, episode 12, titled The Mansion Family. In the episode, Britney co-hosted the Springfield Pride Awards with Kent Brockman and accidentally killed Springfield’s oldest resident, Cornelius Chapman, by kissing him on the cheek after handing him an award. She was going to do the same to Mr. Burns when he got the award by default as the second oldest man in town, but he stopped her, fearing the “kiss of death”.
Britney’s outfit in the episode is based on one of her looks from her Baby One More Time music video: a blue sports bra, red and white sweatpants and blue and white sneakers. Her hair, meanwhile, was half down and half in pigtails.
Conan O’Brien as himself
Conan O’Brien guest starred as himself in season 5, episode 12, titled Bart Gets Famous. In the episode, Bart came to O’Brien’s late-night show. Though O’Brien was already the titular host of NBC’s Late Night with Conan O’Brien when the episode originally aired in 1994, it was actually written long before O’Brien officially became a late-night show host.
Prior to guest starring on The Simpsons, O’Brien had actually written four episodes of the series: 1992’s New Kid on the Block and 1993’s Marge vs. the Monorail, Homer Goes to College, and Treehouse of Horror IV.
Frances McDormand as Melanie Upfoot
Four-time Oscar winning actress Frances McDormand, best known for her role as Marge Gunderson in the 1996 film Fargo, guest starred as Melanie Upfoot in Girls Just Wanna Have Sums (season 17, episode 19).
The episode introduced Melanie as a temporary principal of Springfield Elementary after women criticized Principal Skinner for thinking that girls are bad at math. When Melanie took over, she split the school into two groups: boys and girls. But after finding out that the math class for girls didn’t teach real math, Lisa disguised as a boy to infiltrate the boys’ math class.
James Earl Jones’ Tree House of Horror appearances
James Earl Jones’ guesting in 1990’s Tree House of Horror is considered as one of the most unforgettable guest appearances on The Simpsons because he’s the only guest voice to date to be heard in all three segments of one of the show’s annual Halloween special. In Tree House of Horror, Jones voiced the moving man in Bad Dream House, Serak the Preparer in Hungry Are the Damned, and served as the narrator in The Raven.
Jones, who is best known for voicing Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, returned for The Simpsons’ Tree House of Horror V in 1993, in which he voiced an alternate-universe Maggie. In 1998, he served as the closing narrator in season 9, episode 14, titled Das Bus.
Jane Lynch as Roz Davis
Between Jane Lynch’s two guest appearances on The Simpsons, her guesting as Roz Davis was arguably more fun than her appearance as Jeanie. Lynch voiced Roz in season 23, episode 4, titled Replaceable You. In the episode, Roz was hired as Homer’s assistant, but she became his assistant when he ditched work just to watch a comedy film with Barney.
Lynch, meanwhile, appeared as Jeanie in season 30, episode 10, titled Tis the 30th Season. Jeanie is the manager of Kissimmee St. Nick Theme Park and Resort.
J.K. Rowling as herself
J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter book series, appeared as herself in The Regina Monologues (season 15, episode 4), in which she had a brief scene talking with Lisa.
In real life, Rowling is a longtime fan of The Simpsons. In fact, she was especially delighted with the Harry Potter spoof in the Wiz Kids segment of Treehouse of Horror XII, which found Bart and Lisa going to wizard school.
Jim Varney as Cooder
The late Jim Varney, who was best known for his comedic role as Ernest P. Worrell, voiced Cooder in season 9, episode 12, titled Bart Carny. Cooder is a carnival worker alongside his son Spud.
In Bart Carny, Homer and Bart got employed at the carnival where Cooder and Spud were working. But when Homer and Bart ended up ruining Cooder and Spud’s source of income, the latter father and son duo locked The Simpsons out of their house and claimed it as their own. Fortunately, the titular family managed to get their house back after beating the carnies in a ring toss game.
Jodie Foster as Maggie Simpson
Two-time Oscar-winning actress Jodie Foster, best known for her roles in 1988’s The Accused and 1992’s The Silence of the Lambs, voiced Maggie Simpson in season 20, episode 20, titled Four Great Women and a Manicure.
Told in four parts, the episode saw Marge taking Lisa to a nail salon for her first manicure, where they engaged in a debate as to whether a woman can simultaneously be smart, powerful and beautiful. They tell four tales of famous women featuring The Simpsons characters in various roles: Selma as Queen Elizabeth I, Lisa as Snow White in a parody of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Marge as Lady Macbeth in a Macbeth parody, and Maggie as the Howard Roark character in a spoof of The Fountainhead.
Jon Stewart as himself
Jon Stewart, the host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show from 1999 to 2015, appeared as himself in season 19, episode 10, in which he was seen reporting for his late-night talk and news satire television program.
In the said episode, titled E. Pluribus Wiggum, Springfield became the site of the first presidential primary. After the townspeople got sick of all of the presidential candidates, they planned to support their own write-in candidate, Ralph Wiggum.
Katy Perry as her live-action self
Katy Perry guest starred as her live-action self in season 22, episode 8, titled The Fight Before Christmas. In the Christmas episode, the singer was the girlfriend of Moe, who, like the rest of the Simpson family, was a puppet in a parody of A Muppet Christmas Carol.
Originally aired in 2010, The Fight Before Christmas has a similar structure to Treehouse of Horror episodes but is divided in four stories instead of three. Each of the four stories centered on a Simpson family member: Bart, Lisa, Marge, and Homer.
Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer
Among Kiefer Sutherland’s three guest appearances on The Simpsons, the actor’s most memorable guesting on the sitcom was when he voiced an animated version of his 24 character, Jack Bauer, in season 18, episode 21, titled 24 Minutes. A parody of 24, the episode saw Bart and Lisa joining forces to prevent the bullies from setting off a stink bomb at the school bake sale.
In addition to 24 Minutes, Sutherland also voiced a stringent Army Colonel in G.I. D’oh (season 18, episode 5) and disturbed loner power plant security guard Wayne Slater in The Falcon and the D’ohman (season 23, episode 1).
Mark Hamill as himself
Mark Hamill guest starred as himself in Mayored to the Mob (season 10, episode 9), voicing himself and appearing as a speaker at the Bi-Mon-Sci-Fi-Con and playing the role of Nathan Detroit in the Springfield Dinner Theater’s production of Guys and Dolls. The animated version of Hamill also sang his own rendition of Luck Be a Lady called Luke, Be a Jedi, and was also seen donning his Star Wars’ character Luke Skywalker.
In addition to voicing himself in the episode, Hamill was also the voice behind the Springfield Dinner Theater director and Leavelle, Homer’s bodyguard trainer.
Mark Zuckerberg as himself
Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg appeared as himself in Loan-a Lisa (season 22, episode 2), in which Lisa and Nelson met him at an entrepreneur expo. He was seen using Facebook and when he met Lisa and Nelson, he changed his status to “happy to meet new friends.” He then revealed that he dropped out of Harvard and still ended up becoming rich and successful.
Later in the episode, Zuckerberg was seen at a roller-skating ring and was accidentally knocked over by Lisa and Nelson. Right after the incident, Zuckerberg changed his Facebook status to “is in intense pain” to which Nelson replied “Haw Haw!” and Lisa replied “Sorry”.
Meryl Streep as Jessica Lovejoy
Meryl Streep guest starred in season 6, episode 7 of The Simpsons. Titled Bart’s Girlfriend, the episode introduced the character of Jessica Lovejoy, who was voiced by Streep. Jessica, the rebellious daughter of Reverend Lovejoy and Helen Lovejoy, is Bart’s biggest crush after Laura Powers and his first girlfriend.
However, in the episode, Bart’s crush on Jessica quickly disappeared when she stole the church charity money and framed him for the theft.
Michael Jackson as Leon Kompowsky
Michael Jackson guest starred as the speaking voice of Leon Kompowsky under the pseudonym John Jay Smith in season 3, episode 1, titled Stark Raving Dad. A former brick layer, Leon was angry about himself until he started impersonating the voice of Michael Jackson, which gained him respect. He, however, got so much into imitating the King of Pop that he ended up thinking he’s actually Michael Jackson. Because of this, Leon was placed in New Bedlam Insane Asylum where he met Homer.
One of Jackson’s conditions for guest starring on The Simpsons was that he voiced himself, but a sound-alike would receive credit. In fact, the show producers were legally prevented from confirming that Jackson guest starred at the time. However, after that episode, the producers decided that if a celebrity wished to guest star on the series, they had to be willing to be credited under their real name and not a pseudonym.
Mick Jagger as himself
Season 14, episode 2, titled How I Spent My Strummer Vacation featured one of the most star-studded guest appearances on The Simpsons’ history, because aside from Mick Jagger appearing as himself, his fellow rock stars Keith Richards, Lenny Kravitz, Elvis Costello, Tom Petty, and Brian Setzer also guest starred in the episode.
In How I Spent My Strummer Vacation, television program Taxicab Conversations sent Homer off to a rock and roll fantasy camp to regroup after getting secretly videotaped complaining about his family. While camping in the woods, Homer and his crew ran into Jagger and the other five abovementioned rock and roll icons.
Neil Patrick Harris as Bart Simpson
Neil Patrick Harris voiced Bart in season 3, episode 4, titled Bart the Murderer. In the episode, Bart accidentally stumbled into a local mafia called the Legitimate Businessman’s Social Club and became their bartender. But when he showed up late at work and blamed Principal Skinner, the gang confronted Skinner, much to the worry of Homer and Maggie’s son.
The episode originally aired in October 1991. During that time, Harris was best known for playing the title role on ABC’s medical drama Doogie Howsie, M.D. Almost 15 years later, the Golden Globe-nominated actor started playing Barney Stinson on the hit CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother.
Paul McCartney as himself
The Beatles member Paul McCartney appeared in season 7, episode 5, titled Lisa the Vegetarian. McCarthy guest starred as himself, alongside his now-deceased wife Linda. McCartney’s condition for appearing in the episode was that Lisa’s decision to become a vegetarian would be a permanent character change, to which producer David Mirkin agreed.
McCartney was the final surviving The Beatles member to appear on The Simpsons, following his bandmates Ringo Starr and George Harrison. John Lennon was killed in 1980, years before the animated series started.
Richard Gere as himself
Pretty Woman star Richard Gere voiced an animated version of himself in season 13, episode 6, titled She of Little Faith.
In the episode, which originally aired in 2001, Lisa withdrew herself from the First Church of Springfield after it became too commercialized. Lisa then converted to Buddhism and later met Gere in the Springfield Buddhist Temple.
Rodney Dangerfield as Larry Burns
In season 8, episode 4, titled Burns, Baby Burns, the late standup comedian Rodney Dangerfield guest starred as Larry Burns, the illegitimate son of Mr. Burns and Lily Bancroft. Larry grew up without knowing his biological parents, but he did have a locket containing a photo of his father.
In Burns, Baby Burns, Larry noticed Mr. Burns sitting on a train and quickly realized that it was his father. So Larry hitched a ride to Springfield and met up with Mr. Burns at his estate and revealed himself as his son, leaving Mr. Burns shocked at the realization that the affair he had with Lily at a Yale reunion resulted in her bearing his child. Larry and Mr. Burns tried to form a productive relationship, but the episode ended with Mr. Burns telling Larry that he could never be the father that his son’s need.
Stephen King as himself
Famed author Stephen King appeared as himself in Insane Clown Poppy (season 12, episode 3), in which he was seen signing books at an outdoor book fair.
During the said book convention, Krusty discovered that he has a daughter from a one-night stand with a female soldier named Erin, who fought in the Gulf War. In a series of flashback scenes, it was revealed that Krusty lost Erin’s trust after he gambled away her violin to Fat Tony, prompting Homer and Krusty to team up to retrieve it.
Sting as himself
One of the most memorable guest appearances on The Simpsons was when English musician Sting voiced an animated version of himself in season 3, episode 13, titled Radio Bart. In the episode, Sting was introduced as Krusty’s former opening act. Though Sting still bore some resentment toward Krusty for firing him in 1969, Sting helped Krusty record the benefit song We’re Sending Our Love Down the Well for Timmy O’Toole.
The song quickly became a #1 hit, but when Timmy was revealed to be a prank played by Bart, the tune dropped all the way to #97. Written by Jon Vitti and directed by Carlos Baeza, Radio Bart was nominated for an Emmy but ultimately lost to an episode of the animated program Claymation Easter.