Neil Simon, king of comedy on Broadway, dies aged 91

27 August, 2018, 16:25 | Author: Kristine Mills
  • Playwright Neil Simon, Creator of ‘The Odd Couple’ and ‘Barefoot in the Park,’ Dies at 91

Actress Marsha Mason says playwright Neil Simon, to whom she was married for a decade, will be "sorely missed" but that his work will live on.

Simon died Sunday at age 91. Many of his plays were adapted into movies and one, "The Odd Couple", even became a popular television series. "A truly great American storyteller".

Over his lifetime, he penned more than 30 plays.

Simon is survived by three children.

The unique knack that Simon possessed was an ability to write lines, characters and situations that transcended the intimate setting of theater - that still delivered comedically when blown up to meet the demands of movies and television.

As noted, Caesar's "Your Show of Shows" produced an inordinately successful roster of alumni, including Simon, Mel Brooks, Larry Gelbart, Carl Reiner, and Woody Allen.

Kristoffer Diaz, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, took to Twitter to remember?the icon: "In a different life, I would have loved to have been my generation's Neil Simon".

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USA actor and comedian Josh Gad wrote: "To say Neil Simon was one of the primary influences on my life and career is an understatement". "I'm sad that we don't have that kind of voice".

Among Simon's most critically acclaimed works is the trilogy of autobiographical plays, "Brighton Beach Memoirs", which won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for best play, "Biloxi Blues", which won the Tony Award for best play, and "Broadway Bound". After he served in the Army, he and his brother worked in Hollywood, Danny in publicity and Neil in the mailroom.

Simon cemented that success two years later with "The Odd Couple", a comedy about bickering roommates: Oscar, a gruff, slovenly sportswriter, and Felix, a neat, fussy photographer. Comedy Lost In Yonkers bagged the 1991 Pulitzer Prize for drama.

Simon straddled those not-always-compatible disciplines with an ease that eluded many other playwrights. Behavior is absolutely the most interesting thing I can write about. "The Odd Couple", for example, spawned the hit movie starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau and later the long-running 1970s sitcom, with Jack Klugman and Tony Randall.

Simon continued to write prolifically, and as his reputation grew, his plays began to become instant classics.

"But I am sorry because he was a great writer".

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