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Animation fans are mourning the loss of Larry the Barfly on 'The Simpsons'

A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:

Animation fans are mourning the loss of a loved one, Larry the Barfly.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE SIMPSONS")

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DAN CASTELLANETA: (As Homer Simpson) Guys, I think Larry's...

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

CASTELLANETA: ... (As Homer Simpson) Dead.

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

After 35 seasons of "The Simpsons," Larry Dalrymple, better known as Larry the Barfly, was killed off.

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MARTÍNEZ: He was a background character - easy to miss, usually slumped over drink at Moe's Tavern. In fact, in Larry's final episode, Homer and friends realized they hardly knew him.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE SIMPSONS")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As Iris Dalrymple) Perhaps one of you could talk about Larry's love of fishing.

CASTELLANETA: (As Homer Simpson) I'm not talking. You talk.

HARRY SHEARER: (As Lenny Leonard) I didn't know him.

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ALEX DESERT: (As Carl Carlson) No one did.

HANK AZARIA: (As Moe Szyslak) Your store was closest.

FADEL: But "Simpsons" fans knew Larry well enough to take it hard when he dropped dead in the recent "Cremains Of The Day" episode. Variety reports "Simpsons" co-executive producer Tim Long says in an email that he's sorry if some fans are upset, but the idea was to, quote-unquote, "use Larry's death as a way to show that even the most peripheral people in our lives have dignity and worth."

MARTÍNEZ: We're talking about a cartoon character, right? I mean, Larry's a part of a long list of "Simpson" characters that have gone to that great drawing board in the sky. Saxophonist Bleeding Gums Murphy died in Season 6. His biggest fan, Lisa Simpson, was at his side.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE SIMPSONS")

YEARDLEY SMITH: (As Lisa Simpson) I stopped brushing my teeth so I can play just like you.

RON TAYLOR: (As Bleeding Gums Murphy) Lisa, honey, music comes from what's in your heart, not what's on your teeth.

FADEL: But some "Simpsons" characters, like Dr. Marvin Monroe, who appeared to have been killed off, later returned, reminding us that anything's possible, at least in cartoons.

(SOUNDBITE OF DANNY ELFMAN'S "THE SIMPSONS THEME") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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