Celebrities pay tribute to Pulitzer prize-winning playwright Neil Simon

Aug 27, 2018, 04:32
Celebrities pay tribute to Pulitzer prize-winning playwright Neil Simon

Neil was well known for so many plays and won Tony Awards for The Odd Couple, Biloxi Blues, and Lost in Yonkers.

Simon died sometime overnight Saturday at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, the statement said.

Neil Simon, the prolific and Pulitzer Prize-winning USA playwright celebrated as the king of comedy who won more Oscar and Tony nominations combined than any other showbiz writer, died on Sunday.

In a 1997 interview with The Washington Post, Simon reflected on his success: "I know that I have reached the pinnacle of rewards".

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Our thoughts are with Neil's loved ones during this time.

Simon was reportedly on life support just before his passing.

During the run of Memoirs in 1983, the Alvin West Theatre on 52nd street was renamed for Simon. "I have no reason to write another play except that I am alive and I like to do it".

A new Simon play nearly every theatrical season was a Broadway staple from 1960 through the mid-1990s, placing him in the ranks of America's top playwrights. For a good while this rich vein of comedy was American comedy, much of it incubated in the legendary writers rooms - celebrated in television's Dick Van Dyke Show, the film My Favorite Year, and Simon's own play Laughter on the 23rd Floor - of the prime-time sketch-based series produced by Max Leibman and starring Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca at network television's dawn in postwar America. He was the child of a garment salesman named Irving Simon and a mother, Mamie Simon, who worked at a department store. He's survived by his wife, Elaine Joyce Simon, three daughters, three grandchildren and one great-grandson.

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"Come Blow Your Horn" (1961) marked Simon's move to the stage from television sketch writing.

Simon wrote in his autobiography "Rewrites", published in 1996, that his older brother Danny had inspired him to pursue comedy. Critically well-received, the 1963 comedy, directed by Mike Nichols, concerned the tribulations of a pair of newlyweds, played by Elizabeth Ashley and Robert Redford, who lived on the top floor of a NY brownstone. It was a hit from the get-go with critics and audiences during its gestation in Washington, but Simon and Nichols kept making changes, including in the play's ending, right up until it was time to pack up and move to the Plymouth Theater in NY.

"The Odd Couple" - a comedy about a messy sportswriter Oscar and fastidious photographer Felix, whose troubled marriages bring them together as roommates - is still an American classic today.

Simon was married five times, twice to actress Diane Lander. I like writing for actors. "I hope I will keep my equilibrium and sense of humour when I'm told I haven't achieved it", Simon once said about his voluminous output of work.

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