Homer Jay Simpson is a fictional main character in the animated television series The Simpsons and the patriarch of the eponymous family. He is voiced by Dan Castellaneta and first appeared on television, along with the rest of his family, in The Tracey Ullman Show short "Good Night" on April 19, 1987. Homer was created and designed by cartoonist Matt Groening while he was waiting in the lobby of James L. Brooks' office. Groening had been called to pitch a series of shorts based on his comic strip Life in Hell but instead decided to create a new set of characters. He named the character after his father, Homer Groening. After appearing for three seasons on The Tracey Ullman Show, the Simpson family got their own series on Fox that debuted December 17, 1989.
Homer and his wife Marge have three children: Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. As the family's provider, he works at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. Homer embodies several American working class stereotypes: he is crude, overweight, incompetent, clumsy, lazy and ignorant; however, he is essentially a decent man and fiercely devoted to his family. Despite the suburban blue-collar routine of his life, he has had a number of remarkable experiences.
In the shorts and earlier episodes, Castellaneta voiced Homer with a loose impression of Walter Matthau; however, during the second and third seasons of the half-hour show, Homer's voice evolved to become more robust, to allow the expression of a fuller range of emotions. He has appeared in other media relating to The Simpsons – including video games, The Simpsons Movie, The Simpsons Ride, commercials and comic books – and inspired an entire line of merchandise. His catchphrase, the annoyed grunt "D'oh!", has been included in The New Oxford Dictionary of English since 1998 and the Oxford English Dictionary since 2001.
Homer is one of the most influential fictional characters on television, having been described by the British newspaper The Sunday Times as "the greatest comic creation of [modern] time". He was named the greatest fictional character "of the last 20 years" in 2010 by Entertainment Weekly, was ranked the second greatest cartoon character by TV Guide, behind Bugs Bunny, and was voted the greatest television character of all time by Channel 4 viewers. For voicing Homer, Castellaneta has won four Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance and a special-achievement Annie Award. In 2000, Homer and his family were awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.