Neil Simon, the respected and much-honored Tony-award winning playwright, has died at the age of 91.
Simon’s cause of death was age-related; according to TMZ, he suffered from a failing kidney, dementia, and Alzheimer’s Disease and was on life support before he died. TMZ, which broke the news of Simon’s death, reported that he passed away at 1 a.m. on August 26, 2018. In 2004, according to TMZ, Neil Simon had undergone a kidney transplant with an organ donated by his publicist.
The Washington Post described him as the world’s most popular playwright after William Shakespeare. “By any measure—quantity, quality, popular success, renown—Neil Simon is the preeminent purveyor of comedy in the last half of the twentieth century,” Paris Review wrote.
Here’s what you need to know:
Neil Simon Was One of the World’s Most Successful & Honored Playwrights
Neil Simon was one of the world’s most successful playwrights.
According to Broadway World, Neil Simon “has received more combined Oscar and Tony nominations than any other writer,” some 17 Tony nominations with three wins. He was also a Pulitzer Prize winner, among many other honors during a lengthy career.
Notable Biographies.com reported that Marvin Neil Simon was born in the Bronx, New York, on July 4, 1927. He was the child of a garment salesman named Irving Simon and a mother, Mamie Simon, who worked at a department store.
He worked in the Warner Brothers’ mailroom before turning to writing, both for television and plays. His plays included Come Blow Your Horn, Barefoot in the Park, and, perhaps most famously, The Odd Couple. He was known for capturing middle class sensibilities.
He also wrote screenplays, among them After the Fox, The Out-of-Towners, The Heartbreak Kid, and Murder by Death. The New Yorker credits him with “pioneering…the genre of situation comedy” on television, including The Phil Silvers Show on the small screen.
Tributes flowed on social media for the great writer:
Neil Simon was married four times, losing one wife to cancer. At the end of his life, he was married to his fourth wife, Elaine Joyce, an actress to whom he was married in 1999. His previous wives were named Diane Lander, Marsha Mason and Joan Baim. As for children, he had three daughters.
His filmography on IMDB lists 100 credits. According to IMDB, Neil Simon was also known for his colorful quotes, among them, “When it’s 100 in New York, it’s 72 in Los Angeles. When it’s 20 in New York, it’s 72 in Los Angeles. However, there are six million interesting people in New York – and 72 in Los Angeles” and “I don’t like writing for comedians. I like writing for actors. The best comedians are the best actors.”
In 1992, he told The Paris Review, “I don’t write social and political plays, because I’ve always thought the family was the microcosm of what goes on in the world. I write about the small wars that eventually become the big wars.”