Neil Simon Dies; Legendary Playwright Was 91 Years Old
Neil Simon, one of the most successful and well-known playwrights of the 20th century, died early Sunday morning after having been on life support.
He was 91 years old.
“Neil Simon, the Pulitzer Prize-winning American playwright, died last night at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City,” reads a statement from Simon’s rep, adding of how/why he passed away:
“The cause was complications from pneumonia.
“His wife, Elaine Joyce Simon, was at his bedside along with Mr. Simon’s daughters, Ellen Simon and Nancy Simon.
TMZ writes that Simon also suffered from a failing kidney, along with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Simon was nominated for a quarter Academy Awards and 17 Tony Awards during his prolific career.
Moreover, his works led to 50 Tony nominations for the actors and actresses who starred in them.
Simon was responsible for over 30 on Broadway, including four that ran simultaneously in 1966: “Sweet Charity,” “The Star-Spangled Girl,” “The Odd Couple” and “Barefoot in the Park.”
We’re you’ve heard of The Odd Couple.
It was this production that led to mainstream stardom for Simon, as the story was turned into a movie and multiple television shows.
The Odd Couple told the tale of two mismatched bachelors who shared an apartment and became unexpected friends.
In 1991, Simon won the Pulitzer Prize “Lost in Yonkers.”
He was also a Kennedy Center honoree in 1995 and won the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 2006.
Oh, and here’s a cool fact: Simon was the first playwright to have a Broadway theater named after him.
A play is “like the birth of a child for him,” producer Emanuel Azenberg told the Washington Post in 1997, adding at the time:
“Because he’s written so many plays, people assume his typewriter types on automatic pilot. They don’t assume that he has a deep emotional commitment to each one.
“And he does.”
Simon was married to dancer Joan Baim, who died 20 years into the marriage from cancer.
He then wed Marsha Mason, although they eventually got a divorce.
He was then married to Diane Lander … on two different occasions.
At the time of his death he was married to actress Elaine Joyce, whom he married in 1999. Simon survived by three children.
He’s the third major American figure to pass away this month.
Previously, Aretha Franklin died of pancreatic cancer.
And Arizona senator John McCain died just yesterday of brain cancer.
May they all rest in peace.