Charles Montgomery Burns is the main antagonist of the Simpsons franchise. He is Homer's arch-nemesis and boss and Waylon Smithers' leader and boss.
urns's paternal family is of Scottish descent while his maternal family is of Scottish, German, and supposedly Mexican descent (although this is contradicted many times). His date of birth is arguable. He has been said to be born on September 15, 1890, although he himself says he was born in 1881. As a child, Burns lived happily in a northern state- presumably in Tangier, Morocco- with his natural parents Clifford and Daphne Burns as the second-youngest of 12 children, the youngest being George Burns, and his teddy bear Bobo. As a child, Burns was so cheery and amiable that his parents called him "Happy".
At a young age, he left his family to live with a twisted and heartless billionaire (who was actually his grandfather and a former slaveholder named Colonel Wainwright Montgomery Burns, who owned an "atom mill" in Springfield, where laborers split atoms, by hitting anvils with sledgehammers. Presumably, nine of his other siblings also accompanied him, although they all died under "suspicious circumstances", leaving himself the sole heir to the family fortune.
Burns lived a life of privilege and would amuse himself by injuring hapless immigrant laborers; it appears that Wainwright was directly responsible for turning Charles Montgomery from a pleasant child into a cold-hearted man, much like himself. Burns later attended Yale University, where he studied science and business, played on the varsity football team, and was inducted into the Skull and Bones secret society. Burns graduated from Yale in 1914. He also bore a grudge against Daphne Burns for having an extramarital affair with President William Howard Taft, which was apparently strong enough for him to attempt to murder his mother by "pulling the plug", not expecting her to live five more decades.
In 1939, at Burns's Yale reunion, he had an affair with the daughter of an old flame. She would later bear his child, Larry Burns, who was given up for adoption and would later enter Mr. Burns's life briefly.
Burns served in the Flying Hellfish during World War II, holding the rank of private after being demoted for his involvement in a romantic scandal and attempting to block a probe from J. Edgar Hoover. Burns is proud of having manufactured shells for the Nazis, seeing himself as being superior to Oskar Schindler because his shells "worked, dammit!" He also implies that he may have served as an SS member and/or served as one of the Nazis at some points.
A member of Springfield's Flying Hellfish battalion (even though it was later shown that Mr. Burns was in the Schutzstaffel (SS, the special forces of Nazi Germany)), he saw action in the Ardennes during the Battle of the Bulge, serving under Sergeant Abraham Simpson. He was later transferred to the South Pacific with part of his squad. During the closing years of the war, when his platoon was clearing out a German-occupied castle, Mr. Burns came across several valuable portraits. Since they couldn't choose on who they should go to, they planned to enter into a tontine, from which Mr. Burns was removed decades after the war through being dishonorably discharged when he tried to kill Abe. The paintings were later handed back to a German whose relatives owned them.
At the end of World War II, he was personally hired by President Harry Truman to transport a specially-printed trillion-dollar bill to Europe as the United States' contribution to the reconstruction of the continent. As the United States' richest citizen, Burns was thought to be also the most trustworthy, which turned out to be just a false rumor. Burns absconded with the bill and kept it in his possession for many years until it was lost to Fidel Castro.
Burns spent time as a biochemist and bio-terrorist before purchasing the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. During the 1960s, Burns operated a biological weapons laboratory until it was destroyed by peace activists - including Homer's mother, Mona Simpson.
In the 1970s, Burns bought the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. Burns currently owns the plant, although he has parted with it several times, including when he sold it to German investors, and when the bank foreclosed on it. The plant was also legally owned at one point by a canary bird named Canary M. Burns to protect Mr. Burns from responsibility for any wrongdoing by the power plant. At some point during his ownership of the plant, Mr. Burns apparently recruited a Brazilian soccer team to work at the Nuclear Power Plant's Reactor Core after their plane had crashed in front of his property (an act that was against the laws of the Department of Labor), as well as hired a duck named Stewart.
After allowing his assistant, Waylon Smithers, Sr. to sacrifice himself to prevent a potential nuclear meltdown in the 1950s, Burns secretly raised his son Waylon Smithers. He is unaware that Smithers is a homosexual and has had a crush on him for years. Their relationship has had its rough spots, as Smithers was one of the prime suspects in the shooting of Mr. Burns in 1995.