For 23 years, Springfield has been the backdrop of family life for the animated Homer Simpson and his dysfunctional family. Indeed, as their family tales have become embedded in television lore, Springfield has become a character in its own right.
Its inspiration has remained a mystery. Groening said he didn’t want to  “ruin it for people” – until now.

In an interview with Smithsonian Magazine, The Simpsons creator revealed Springfield is based on a town of the same name, near where he grew up.

Even the address that The Simpsons live at, 632 Evergreen Terrace, is named after Groening’s own childhood home address.

He also said he was inspired to use the town’s name after it was featured on the 1950s television show Father Knows Best.

“I also figured out that Springfield was one of the most common names for a city in the US In anticipation of the success of the show, I thought, ‘This will be cool; everyone will think it’s their Springfield.’ And they do,” said the show’s creator.

The Simpsons, made up of donut-loving father Homer J Simpson, his wife Marge, and their kids Bart, Lisa and Maggie, have become a staple of American culture.

The family is based on Groening’s family, with Bart, based on the creator himself, although Groening changed the name from ‘Matt’ to ‘Bart’ because he “had this idea of an angry father yelling ‘Bart,’ and Bart sounds kind of like bark-like a barking dog,” and he thought it would sound funny.

Groening also revealed he named some of the Simpson’s characters after streets in Portland, including Reverend Lovejoy, the school bully Kearney and the Simpsons’ annoying neighbour Ned Flanders.

The Simpsons first aired in 1989 and has become the longest-running US sitcom in history, now broadcast in more than 100 countries and 50 languages.