Brilliant theoretical physicist and all-around genius Stephen Hawking recently passed away at the age of 76. His death marks a major loss in the scientific community as well as the loss of an unexpected source of comedy in pop culture. Hawking was known to appear (or lend his voice) for a variety of sitcoms and series, and he played himself in multiple episodes of The Simpsons. The show found a wonderful way to honor his life and legacy with an in memoriam slide at the end of the latest episode:
The slide showing Stephen Hawking with young Lisa Simpson on his lap as they fly above Springfield in his helicopter wheelchair aired at the end of the March 18 episode of The Simpsons, and it made for a lovely tribute to the man who contributed a surprising amount of humor to the series. Not all celebrities who lend their voices to The Simpsons are actually funny when they do so, but Hawking always delivered laughs. After his first contribution in 1999 with the episode called "They Saved Lisa's Brain," Hawking returned for episodes in 2005, 2007, and 2010.
The slide aired at the end of the episode for viewers, but The Simpsons executive producer Matt Selman found a way to guarantee that even those who didn't watch still got to see the show's tribute to Stephen Hawking. He shared a picture of the slide on Twitter, where it has received more than 3,000 likes and more than 750 retweets at the time of writing.
The in memoriam image wasn't the first time that Matt Selman honored Stephen Hawking on social media in the wake of his death. After news of his passing broke on March 14, Selman shared this pic from the "They Saved Lisa's Brain" episode with a kind message:
Matt Selman wasn't the only member of the Simpsons team to use social media to honor Stephen Hawking. The Simpsons animator and director David Silverman posted a fun image comparing the real-life Hawking with his Simpsons counterpart:
Between the helicopter blades and the boxing glove mechanism, the Simpsons version of Stephen Hawking was not a man to be messed with. Hawking's death is undeniably sad and he will be missed by many. Hopefully we can continue to rewatch his appearances on The Simpsons (as well as shows like Futurama and The Big Bang Theory) to remember his comedy legacy.
New episodes of The Simpsons Season 29 -- yes, Season 29 -- air on Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on Fox. If you're still looking for other viewing options, take a look at our midseason TV premiere guide. If streaming is more your style, be sure to swing by our 2018 Netflix premiere schedule and our 2018 Amazon Prime rundown.