Harry Shearer, the actor who voices Mr Burns, Ned Flanders, Waylon Smithers and Principal Skinner on The Simpsons, says he is leaving the long-running comedy. Shearer tweeted on Wednesday that Fox had informed him his contract will not be renewed.

Harry ShearerHarry Shearer has announced he is leaving The Simpsons, allegedly over contractual issues

"From [Simpsons executive producer] James L. Brooks' lawyer: 'Show will go on, Harry will not be part of it, wish him the best,' " Shearer tweeted, adding in a second post: "This because I wanted what we've always had: the freedom to do other work. Of course, I wish him the very best."

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Shearer has been with The Simpsons since its origins on The Tracey Ullman show though was the only voice-actor left to negotiate the terms of his contract after the rest of the talent signed on for season 27 and 28. The Simpsons actors agreed to take a pay cut in 2011 though stopped attended script readings in 2004 before eventually getting a salary bump.

It is believed that all members of The Simpsons cast make the same amount per episode though the entertainment gossip website TMZ.com said Shearer had issues with back-end and merchandising. 

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"Thanks, Simpsons fans, for your support," Shearer tweeted after receiving a flurry of supportive messages.

"The Simpsons jumped the shark a long time ago, so what do we call this then? I hope we call it "The end."" said one Twitter user.

"The depth of Simpsons success has to do with Mr Burns and Ned Flanders; hope that this is not true," said another.