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Laurel, Hardy foil inspired Homer Simpson

Laurel, Hardy foil inspired Homer Simpson
Matt Groening (C), the creator of the longest-running scripted show in television, poses with two characters from the animated series, Bart Simpson (L) and Homer Simpson (R), after he was honored with the 2,459th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame during an unveiling ceremony in Los Angeles on Feb. 14, 2012. UPI/Jim Ruymen | License Photo

HOLLYWOOD, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- The DNA of "The Simpsons" reaches as far back as the classic films of Laurel and Hardy, the creators said on the eve of the show's 500th episode.

Dan Castellaneta, who does the voice of Homer Simpson, told The Hollywood Reporter his trademark catchphrase "D'oh!" was inspired by one Jimmy Finlayson, a longtime supporting character in the Laurel and Hardy shorts who would give a drawn out "Doooooooh" whenever he was hit in the head or had generally had his fill of Stan and Ollie's antics.

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Castellaneta said "D'oh" was born when an early script required him to voice "an annoyed grunt" and he asked producer Matt Groening what that meant exactly. "He said it could be whatever I wanted it to be," Castellaneta recalled. "My mind latched on to Finlayson's 'Dooooh!'"

"The Simpsons," of course, have a long roster of Hollywood greats who have contributed to the series' success over 23 years. The Reporter said the roster of guest stars ranges from Elizabeth Taylor and Bob Hope on up to Lady Gaga and Conan O'Brien.

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The landmark 500th episode airs Sunday on Fox with the audience likely to exceed its average 8 million viewers.

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