Lisa Marie Simpson is a fictional main character in the animated television series The Simpsons. She is the middle child, and elder daughter, of the eponymous family. She is voiced by Yeardley Smith and first appeared on television in The Tracey Ullman Show short "Good Night" on April 19, 1987. Lisa was created and designed by cartoonist Matt Groening while he was waiting in the lobby of James L. Brooks's office. Groening had been called to pitch a series of shorts based on Life in Hell but instead decided to create a new set of characters. He named the character after his younger sister Lisa Groening. After appearing on The Tracey Ullman Show for three years, the Simpson family got their own series on Fox, which debuted December 17, 1989.
At eight years of age, Lisa is the middle child of the Simpson family and elder daughter of Homer and Marge, younger sister of Bart and elder sister of Maggie. She is highly intelligent, plays the saxophone, has been a vegetarian since the seventh season, has been a Buddhist since season thirteen and supports a number of different causes. She 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.
Yeardley Smith originally tried out for the role of Bart, while Bart's voice actor Nancy Cartwright tried out for Lisa. Cartwright found that the character was not interesting at the time, so instead auditioned for Bart, and Smith's voice was too high for a boy, so she was given the role of Lisa. Because of her unusual pointed hair style, many animators consider Lisa the most difficult character to draw. In The Tracey Ullman Show shorts, Lisa was more of a "female Bart" and was equally mischievous, but as the series progressed, she became a more emotional and intellectual character.
Lisa is one of the most enduring characters on the series. TV Guide ranked her eleventh (tied with Bart) on their list of the "Top 50 Greatest Cartoon Characters of All Time". Yeardley Smith won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance in 1992. Lisa's environmentalism has been well received; several episodes featuring her have won Genesis and Environmental Media Awards, including a special "Board of Directors Ongoing Commitment Award" in 2001, and PETA included her on their list of the "Most Animal-Friendly TV Characters of All Time". In 2000, Lisa, along with the rest of her family, was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.