Actress who was the voice of Simpsons’ teacher dies aged 70

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Marcia WALLACE, the voice of scoffing schoolteacher Edna Krabappel on The Simpsons, whose wisecracking characters on The Bob Newhart Show and other prime-time hits endeared her to generations of TV viewers, has died.

Simpsons’ executive producer Al Jean said her “irreplaceable character”, the fourth-grade teacher who contended with Bart Simpson’s constant antics, would be retired from the show.

He said: “I was tremendously saddened to learn this morning of the passing of the brilliant
and gracious Marcia Wallace. She was beloved by all at The Simpsons.”

He added it was “a terrible loss for all who had the pleasure of knowing her”.

The 70-year-old actress’s credits ranged from playing a receptionist on The Bob Newhart Show to appearances on Candice Bergen’s Murphy Brown.

On The Simpsons, Wallace provided the voice for world-weary Edna Krabappel, who smoked cigarettes, made sarcastic comments and finally found love in the arms of neighbour Ned Flanders after fans voted online at the end of season 22 to keep the unlikely couple together.

Wallace’s trademark “Ha!” punctuated Krabappel’s frequent wisecracks, and her character was also known for the catchphrase: “Do what I mean, not what I
say.”

Harry Shearer, the voice of Ned Flanders on the show, said Wallace “brought this huge, positive energy” to her work on The Simpsons. “She was just a warm and wonderful person,” he
said.

Meanwhile, Hal Needham, a top Hollywood stuntman who turned to directing rousing action films including Smokey And The Bandit and The Cannonball Run, has died aged 82.

His business managers told the Los Angeles Times that Needham died on Friday in Los Angeles.

A former paratrooper, Needham appeared in thousands of TV episodes and hundreds of movies, performing and designing stunts and new equipment to execute them.

He jumped from planes and was dragged by horses and wrecked cars – breaking 56 bones in the process.

His best-known directing efforts involved 1970s Burt Reynolds action comedies, including Smokey, Cannonball Run and Stroker Ace. He also directed movie lengend Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Villain.

In a posting on Twitter, Schwarzenegger called Needham an icon. Needham received an honorary Oscar last year.