Maggie Roswell

Maggie Roswell
Maggie Roswell

2010 photograph of Roswell by Tommy Collier
Born November 14, 1952 (1952-11-14) (age 59)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Occupation Actress, voice artist, writer and producer of advertisements
Years active 1973–present
Spouse Hal Rayle (1987–present)

Maggie Roswell (born November 14, 1952) is an American film and television actress and voice artist from Los Angeles, California. She is well known for her voice work on the Fox network's animated television series The Simpsons, in which she has played recurring characters such as Maude Flanders, Helen Lovejoy, Miss Hoover, and Luann Van Houten, as well as several minor characters. This work has earned her both an Emmy Award nomination and an Annie Award nomination.

Roswell made her acting break-through in the 1980s with appearances in films such as Midnight Madness (1980), Lost in America (1985), and Pretty in Pink (1986), and guest appearances on television shows such as Remington Steele, Masquerade, and Happy Days. She appeared frequently in the sketch comedy The Tim Conway Show from 1980 to 1981, and did voice acting for a few animated films and television shows. Roswell also performed in some theater plays, including one in 1988 directed by Julia Sweeney.

In 1989, Roswell was hired for the first season of The Simpsons. She played a few minor characters until she became a regular cast member with the introduction of Maude Flanders in the second season. In 1994, Roswell and her husband Hal Rayle moved from Los Angeles to Denver to raise their daughter. Together they established the Roswell 'n' Rayle Company, creating and voicing advertisements for companies. Because of her move to Denver, Roswell had to travel to Los Angeles twice a week to tape The Simpsons. This ultimately led to her requesting a pay raise in 1999; however, Fox refused to offer her the amount she wanted so she quit the show. Roswell returned to The Simpsons in 2002 after reaching a deal to record her lines from her Denver home.



First acting work

Maggie Roswell was born and raised in Los Angeles, California.[1][2] After going to Catholic school and Los Angeles City College, she began a career in acting.[2] In the 1970s she made some guest appearances on television shows such as M*A*S*H,[3][4] but she did not get her first big acting roles until the 1980s. In the 1980 film Midnight Madness, she played a character that leads a group of sorority sisters who are participating in a college puzzle solving race.[5] Roswell also starred in the sketch comedy The Tim Conway Show in 1980 and 1981.[6][7] In 1985 she appeared in the film Lost in America as the character Patty,[8][9] and she had a supporting role in the 1986 film Pretty in Pink.[10] She also acted in the two-part television film The Deliberate Stranger.[11] In addition, Roswell played some minor roles in television shows in the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s,[3] including guest appearances on Remington Steele (1993),[12] Masquerade (1984),[13] Happy Days (1984), Murphy Brown (1993), and Quantum Leap (1993).[3] She was offered a chance to replace Gilda Radner on Saturday Night Live, but turned down the offer when her agent told her "the show wasn't going anywhere."[10]

Roswell also did theater. In 1986 she appeared in improvisatory shows directed by Paul Sills at Lamb's Theatre, in which the actors were given characters and situations by the audience members.[14][15] In 1988 she had a role in Julia Sweeney's play Mea's Big Apology at Groundling Theatre in Los Angeles.[16] She played Eunice, a cynical woman who works at malpractice insurance company and is a colleague to the main character. The company people do everything they can to dismiss her because they do not want to pay her retirement benefits, which are about to take effect.[17] Roswell reprised this role in a 1992 revival of the play, also at Groundling Theatre.[17]

Early The Simpsons, Roswell 'n' Rayle, pay dispute

In addition to her live action roles, Roswell did some voice acting in animated films and shows,[3] including the voice of Teegra in Fire and Ice from 1983.[18] This led to her being hired on the animated television series The Simpsons in 1989. Her first appearance was in the season one episode "Homer's Night Out", in which she voiced the character Princess Kashmir (a belly dancer who seduces Homer).[10] Out of the total thirteen episodes of the first season, Roswell appeared in four; however, they were only minor roles. Roswell did not become a regular cast member until the middle of the second season in the episode "Dead Putting Society" (1990), with the introduction of Maude Flanders (neighbor to the Simpson family and the loving wife of Ned Flanders).[3] Roswell went on to voice other recurring characters on the show, such as Helen Lovejoy (the reverend's wife), Miss Hoover (an elementary school teacher),[10] and Luann Van Houten (a housewife and mother),[19] as well as several more one-time characters and background characters.[3] Fellow Simpsons cast member Nancy Cartwright wrote in her autobiography that "Maggie has been blessed with a skill in creating one of the hardest things to create: the 'normal sound,' whatever that is. So she can easily slip into the gal next door or any number of assorted reporters, medical students, jury members, accountants, scientists and moms."[3] Roswell was nominated for an Emmy Award for her work on The Simpsons.[10] She also received a 1997 Annie Award nomination in the category "Best Individual Achievement: Voice Acting by a Female Performer in a TV Production" for her role as Sharry Bobbins in the episode "Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious", but lost to June Foray.[20]

Roswell met fellow voice actor Hal Rayle in 1986, and they married in 1987.[21] He had done roles such as Predator in Predator 2, the ghoulies in Ghoulies II, and Marvin the Martian in Air Jordan commercials.[10] They moved from Los Angeles to Denver, Colorado, in June 1994 to raise their daughter, who was born in 1993.[10] Between March and November every year,[22] when episodes of The Simpsons were being recorded, Roswell had to fly back to Los Angeles twice a week to attend the table reads and the recording sessions. In an article about her and her husband's move, Ricky Lopes of Rocky Mountain News wrote: "When The Simpsons is taping, she goes to Los Angeles every Friday morning for the first reading, flies back that afternoon, flies back Sunday to tape the show Monday and flies back home that night."[10] Roswell said she "got the idea for the way Helen Lovejoy says 'B-bye, b-bye, b-bye,' to everybody when they leave the church from the way the flight attendants say it when you get off the plane."[10]

Roswell and Rayle began writing, producing, and/or voicing advertisements together for companies.[10][23] They established "The Roswell 'n' Rayle Company" for this purpose, and built a recording studio in their basement.[1][10] In 1994, they did radio advertisements in Denver for Burger King, Christy Sports, and an insect exhibit at the Museum of Natural History.[10] The same year, Roswell provided her voice for Campbell's Soup and Pontiac commercials as part of their business.[10] The company is still active as of 2010.[24] They are now also providing comedic ring tones.[25]

In 1997, Roswell appeared in the film Switchback alongside Danny Glover and Dennis Quaid.[26]

Roswell left The Simpsons in spring 1999 after a pay dispute with Fox Broadcasting Company, which airs The Simpsons.[1][3] The dispute was not revealed to the press at first; Fox originally reported that she decided to quit only because she was tired of flying between Denver and Los Angeles for the recording sessions.[27][28][29] It was then announced by Roswell that she had asked for a raise, not only because she was tired of the traveling, but because of the increasing cost of flight tickets.[1][27][30] Roswell was paid $1,500 to $2,000 per episode during the three seasons before she left, and she asked Fox for a raise to $6,000 per episode. However, Fox only offered her a $150 raise, which did not even cover the travel costs, so she decided to quit.[30] Roswell told The Denver Post that "they offered me a $150 raise. I mean, that's lint in Fox's pocket. But Fox wanted to prove a point, I guess. I was flying myself back and forth from Denver to L.A. It was exhausting. I loved doing the show and they thought that I would come back. But now I'm busy doing other things."[31] She further added that "I was part of the backbone of The Simpsons and I don't think the money I asked for was exorbitant. I wasn't asking for what other cast members make. I was just trying to recoup all the costs I had in travel. If they'd flown me in, I'd still be working."[32] At that point, the six main cast members of the show were paid $125,000 per episode.[33][34] As a result of Roswell's departure, the Maude Flanders character was killed off in the episode "Alone Again, Natura-Diddily".[3][31][32] Voice actress Marcia Mitzman Gaven was hired to fill in for Roswell's other characters.[35]

Return to The Simpsons and later work

Roswell returned to The Simpsons in 2002 in the season premiere of the fourteenth season, in which Maude made an appearance as a ghost.[26][36][37] She reached a deal with Fox to record her lines from her Denver home[37] and thus the dispute ended.[26] Roswell has since stayed on the show, which is still airing as of 2011. She also appeared as Helen Lovejoy in the 2007 film The Simpsons Movie.[38] She attended the gala premiere together with her daughter, Spenser Rayle, who had turned fourteen years old at the time. Roswell told The Denver Post that she was surprised she was given two tickets; "Everybody in Hollywood is killing to get their kid there. My daughter's big thrill is to meet [the band] Green Day," which also appeared in the film.[38]

In 2004, Roswell had a minor role in the film Silver City.[39] In 2009, she starred in the play Bunny Bunny: Gilda Radner, a Sort of Romantic Comedy at Avenue Theater in Denver. It opened in May of that year. The play told the career of actress Gilda Radner, who Roswell played, from 1975 (the start of Saturday Night Live) to her death in 1989.[40]

Outside her acting career, Roswell likes to sing. On February 7, 1999, she debuted as a nightclub singer at the Denver Chop House & Brewery, where she performed on behalf of the homelessness charity Family Homestead.[41][42] In June 2003, she sang at Denver's Rattlebrain Theatre on Sunday nights with The Sirens.[37]



Year Film Role
1980 Midnight Madness Donna
1983 Fire and Ice Teegra (voice)
1985 Lost in America Patty
1986 Pretty in Pink Mrs. Dietz
1992 Cool World Additional voice
1995 The Pebble and the Penguin Additional voice
1997 Switchback Fae
2004 Silver City Ellie Hastings
2007 The Simpsons Movie Helen Lovejoy (voice)


Year Series Role Notes
1973 Love, American Style Appeared in one episode
1973 M*A*S*H Sister Theresa Appeared in one episode: "Kim"
1973 The Partridge Family Lois Appeared in one episode: "Heartbreak Keith"
1980–1981 The Tim Conway Show Numerous roles Sketch comedy
1981 And They All Lived Happily After Lorraine Hofstedter Television film
1981 Mork & Mindy Donna Hammond Appeared in one episode: "Three the Hard Way"
1982 Laverne & Shirley Karen Caldwell Appeared in one episode: "Life Is the Tar Pits"
1983 Remington Steele Margaret "Hoop" Tracy Appeared in one episode: "Steele in the News"
1984 Masquerade Appeared in one episode: "Five Days"
1984 Happy Days Joyce James Appeared in one episode: "Fonzie Moves Out"
1986 New Love, American Style Appeared in one episode
1986 The Deliberate Stranger Detective Kathy McCeshney Minseries in two parts
1987 Hello Kitty's Furry Tale Theater Additional voices
1987 New Love, American Style Ranger Morrison Appeared in one episode: "Babes in the Woods"
1987 Dynasty Miss Penelope Shane Appeared in one episode: "The Testing"
1987–1988 Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures Pearl Pureheart (voice)
and additional voices
Appeared in 14 episodes
1987–1989 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Additional voices Appeared in two episodes: one in 1987 and one in 1989
1988 Yogi and the Invasion of the Space Bears Little Girl (voice) Animated television film
1988 Jake and the Fatman Appeared in one episode: "What Is This Thing Called Love? "
1988–1991 A Pup Named Scooby-Doo Additional voices
1989 Hunter Adelle Roberts Appeared in one episode: "Shoot to Kill"
1990 TaleSpin Additional voices
1990 Tiny Toon Adventures Mary Vain (voice) Appeared in one episode: "Hollywood Plucky"
The Simpsons Maude Flanders, Helen Lovejoy,
Luann Van Houten, Miss Hoover
and additional voices
Has appeared in more than 175 episodes
1991 L.A. Law Home buyer Appeared in one episode: "Rest in Pieces"
1991 Guns of Paradise Appeared in one episode: "Twenty-Four Hours"
1991 Bad Attitudes Angela's mother Television film
1991 James Bond Jr. Additional voices
1991 Darkwing Duck Female superhero (voice) Appeared in one episode: "Planet of the Capes"
1992 Grave Secrets: The Legacy of Hilltop Drive Rita Marshall Television film
1993 Quantum Leap Masterson Appeared in one episode: "Revenge of the Evil Leaper"
1993 Murphy Brown Mother #2 Appeared in one episode: "The Egg & I"
1993 Bonkers Anita the Hairdresser (voice) Appeared in one episode: "Weather or Not"
1994 Animaniacs Princess of Props (voice) Appeared in one episode:
"Baloney & Kids/Super Buttons/Katie Ka-Boom: The Driving Lesson"
1998 Venus on the Hard Drive Venus (voice) Animated television series

Video games

Year Game Role
1997 The Simpsons: Virtual Springfield Additional voices


  1. ^ a b c d "Voice Of 'Maude' Disputes Report". The Columbian: p. E6. 2000-02-05. 
  2. ^ a b Husted, Bill (2011-04-21). "She's wanted dead or alive by folks on 'Simpsons". The Denver Post. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Cartwright, Nancy (2000). "Lady, That Ain't No Gutterball!". My Life as a 10-Year-Old Boy. New York City: Hyperion. p. 96. ISBN 0-7868-8600-5. 
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  9. ^ Cosford, Bill (1985-04-12). "Yuppies On The Road To Ruin". The Miami Herald: p. 2D. 
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  11. ^ Marill, Alvin H. (1987). Movies Made for Television: The Telefeature and the Mini-Series: 1964–1986. New York Zoetrope. p. 106. ISBN 9780918432803. Retrieved 2010-08-07. 
  12. ^ Freur, Jane; Kerr, Paul; Vahimagi, Tise (1984). MTM: 'Quality Television'. British Film Institute. p. 272. Retrieved 2010-08-07. 
  13. ^ Gianakos, Larry James (1987). Television Drama Series Programming: A Comprehensive Chronicle, 1947–1959. Scarecrow Press. p. 335. ISBN 9780810818767. Retrieved 2010-08-07. 
  14. ^ Feldberg, Robert (1986-06-10). "A Show That's Like An Acting Class". The Record: p. B13. 
  15. ^ Simon, John (1986-06-23). "Lady's Day". New York Magazine: p. 59. Retrieved 2010-08-07. 
  16. ^ Drake, Sylvie (1988-04-29). "The Sorry State of 'Mea's Big Apology'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-08-06. 
  17. ^ a b Leader, Jody (1992-08-07). "No Apologies, Please – 'Mea' A Faultless Work". Daily News of Los Angeles: p. L28. 
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  25. ^ Benderoff, Eric (2007-08-30). "Web sites vie to get on deck with cell users – Mobile phones hold promise of becoming popular path to Internet". Chicago Tribune: p. 1. 
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  27. ^ a b McDaniel, Mike (2000-02-11). "Not true, 'Maude' says". Houston Chronicle. 
  28. ^ "People". Contra Costa Times: p. A02. 2000-02-01. 
  29. ^ "Character killed off". The Cincinnati Post: p. 12A. 2000-02-01. 
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  34. ^ "'Simpsons' Voice Disputes Reason For Leaving". The Journal Gazette: p. 5D. 2000-02-07. 
  35. ^ "Maude Flanders will likely leave Simpsons". The Record: p. F04. 2000-02-05. 
  36. ^ Weber, Wendy Fox (2002-11-01). "TV Tip: The Simpsons". The Naperville Sun: p. 12. 
  37. ^ a b c Husted, Bill (2003-06-01). "Maggie's back". The Denver Post: p. F-02. 
  38. ^ a b Husted, Bill (2007-07-22). "Woo-Hoo! Actress' voice work wins tickets to 'The Simpsons – Movie". The Denver Post: p. C-02. 
  39. ^ Moore, John (2003-09-21). "Here's the scoop: Director casts Hickenlooper in film". The Denver Post: p. A-01. 
  40. ^ Moore, John (2008-11-02). "Theaters need to seek the upside of downturn – By offering deals, dependable favorites and laughs, they can rise above the Dow". The Denver Post: p. E-02. 
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