Yeardley Smith (//; born Martha Maria Yeardley Smith on July 3, 1964) is a French-born American actress, voice actress, writer and painter. She is best known for her long-running role as Lisa Simpson on the animated television series The Simpsons. She was born in Paris and moved with her family to Washington, D.C. in 1966. As a child, Smith was often mocked because of her voice and unusual first name. She became a professional actress in 1982 after graduating from drama school and moved to New York City in 1984 where she appeared in the Broadway production of The Real Thing. She made her film debut in 1985's Heaven Help Us, followed by roles in The Legend of Billie Jean and Maximum Overdrive. She moved to Los Angeles, California in 1986 and received a recurring role in the television series Brothers. In 1987, she auditioned for a role in a series of animated shorts about a dysfunctional family on The Tracey Ullman Show. Smith intended to audition for the role of Bart Simpson, but the casting director felt her voice was too high, so she was given the role of Lisa instead. She voiced Lisa for three seasons on The Tracey Ullman Show, and in 1989, the shorts were spun off into their own half-hour show, The Simpsons. For her work as the character, Smith received a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance in 1992.