The Simpsons will feature John Autry as its first deaf voice actor

The Simpsons makes history by hiring John Autry as its first-ever deaf voice actor for episode The Sound Of Bleeding Gums and using American Sign Language

The Simpsons is set to feature its first-ever deaf voice actor in an upcoming episode entitled The Sound Of Bleeding Gums.

John Autry has been cast in the role of Monk, the deaf son of saxophonist Bleeding Gums Murphy, and American Sign Language will be used for the first time in the show’s history.

Producer Al Jean shared an image of the new character on Twitter and captioned the picture: ‘It’s very hard to do a “first” after 722 episodes. But I couldn’t be more excited about this one.’

A first for the show: The Simpsons is set to feature its first-ever deaf voice actor in an upcoming episode entitled The Sound Of Bleeding Gums

In the episode, Lisa Simpson helps Monk in his pursuit of a cochlear implant, which can help to improve speech understanding.

Autry, who is deaf, expressed that he was thrilled to have been cast in the iconic TV show, describing it as a historic moment.

The performer told Variety: ‘It’s so incredible. It’s life-changing equality and participation.’

The actor also remarked that his appearance on the program would likely serve to improve the image of deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals in the entertainment industry.

Speaking out: Autry, who is deaf, expressed that he was thrilled to have been cast in the iconic TV show, describing it as a historic moment; he is seen in 2014

Showing his enthusiasm: Producer Al Jean shared an image of the new character on Twitter and captioned the picture: ‘It’s very hard to do a “first” after 722 episodes. But I couldn’t be more excited about this one’

‘This can impact change for all of us. It’s about hard-of-hearing and hearing characters coming together. It’s a part of history,’ he said.

The Sound of Bleeding Gums was in the works long before the release of the much-lauded feature CODA, which is centered on the members of a primarily deaf family.

Writer Loni Steele Sosthand acknowledged that there were some obvious similarities between the upcoming episode and the Sian Heder-directed comedy-drama film.

Loni said: ‘I was an early viewer of CODA and really admire the movie. There are themes in it that are somewhat echoed here, coming out of a sibling relationship.’

Taking notice: Writer Loni Steele Sosthand acknowledged that there were some obvious similarities between the upcoming episode and the Sian Heder-directed comedy-drama film

The writer also noted that the movie was particularly effective with viewers due to its subject matter. 

‘CODA has the tension between music and the deaf experience. I think it’s great, because the deaf experience isn’t just one story, there are so many stories to be told,’ she said.

Jean also pointed out that, although the episode was being worked on before the film’s release, he was glad that it was making its debut within the same timeframe.

Making his thoughts known: Jean also pointed out that, although the episode was being worked on before the film’s release, he was glad that it was making its debut within the same timeframe

‘The Sound of Bleeding Gums was in development long before CODA came on the scene and won the Oscar last month, but there’s serendipity in the timing,’ he stated. 

Despite this, the upcoming episode was largely inspired by Loni’s personal experiences.

She told the media outlet: ‘I’m mixed race; my father’s black and jazz was big in our house.’

Sosthand also expressed that several aspects of her early life were reflected in the episode’s script.

Looking back: Sosthand also expressed that several aspects of her early life were reflected in the episode’s script

‘We grew up in the suburbs, and it was a way for my dad to bring in that aspect of our culture. But when I think about music, I also think about my brother, who was born deaf,’ she said.

The writer’s brother Eli, as well as several other deaf performers, will voice various characters in the episode.

The Sound of Bleeding Gums is currently scheduled to air this coming Sunday. 

Coming soon: The Sound of Bleeding Gums is currently scheduled to air this coming Sunday

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