Matt Groening lifts lid on the truth behind Michael Jackson’s cameo on ‘The Simpsons’

The late artist was a special guest - albeit uncredited - on the season three episode 'Stark Raving Dad' back in 1991

The Simpsons creator Matt Groening has spoken about Michael Jackson‘s famed cameo on the show back in 1991, confirming that it was in fact the late star who voiced the character of Leon Kompowsky.

Jackson guested on the long-running animated show in the season three episode ‘Stark Raving Dad’ as Kompowsky – a patient Homer meets after he is sent to a mental institution.

Jackson wasn’t officially credited for the role, with the name John Jay Smith offered in place of the singer’s actual name in the credits. While he performed Kompowsky’s speaking parts, Jackson turned down the opportunity to perform the song he wrote for the episode, ‘Happy Birthday Lisa’, with a sound-alike (Kipp Lennon) filling in to sing the vocal parts instead.


Groening has spoken about Jackson’s cameo on The Simpsons in a new interview with The Weekly With Charlie Pickering, putting any lingering doubts about Jackson’s part on the show to bed by saying “we really did have him”, and adding that it was Jackson himself who asked for a guest role.

“He didn’t want credit for – or there was some kind of deal with his record company or whatever – so when it came time to sing the songs, he had a sound-a-like singer,” he said. “He stood there and watched the guy, who was so nervous who had to sound like Michael Jackson, and then he giggled.”

Watch the interview segment with Groening below.

Yesterday (August 29) marked what would’ve been Jackson’s 60th birthday. To mark the occasion, Mark Ronson released a special mash-up track which celebrated some choice cuts from Jackson’s back catalogue.