Neil Simon dead at 91

Legendary playwright Neil Simon known for 'The Odd Couple' and 'Barefoot in the Park,' dies at 91

The theatre world quickly mourned his death, including Tony Award-winning actor and playwright Harvey Fierstein, who tweeted that Simon "could write a joke that would make you laugh, define the character, the situation, and even the world's problems".

Simon's cause of death was age-related; according to TMZ, he suffered from a failing kidney, dementia, and Alzheimer's Disease, and he was on life support before he died.

A member of the famed "Your Show of Shows" writing staff for Sid Caesar, Simon was an entertainment mainstay for more than six decades.

Big Bang Theory creator Bill Prady said there was "no American comedy writer whose work isn't influenced by the rhythm and music of Neil Simon's words".

At one point, in the late 1960s, he had four shows on Broadway at once.

The previous year had seen a popular revival of The Odd Couple, reuniting Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick after their enormous success in The Producers several years earlier.

Simon's own life figured most prominently in what became known as his Brighton Beach trilogy - Brighton Beach Memoirs, Biloxi Blues and Broadway Bound - which many consider his finest works.

In total, Simon wrote more than 30 plays and earned 17 Tony nominations with three wins.

Simon was called "not just a show business success but an institution" by one NY critic.

Add in his original screenplays - such as "The Out-of-Towners", "The Heartbreak Kid", "The Goodbye Girl" and "Seems Like Old Times" - and one can get a sense of Simon's dominance. "Brighton Beach Memoirs." "Lost in Yonkers". Walter Matthau, as Oscar, and Art Carney, as Felix, starred on Broadway, with Matthau and Jack Lemmon playing the roles in a successful movie version. In 1970, it was turned into a long-running television series with Jack Klugman and Tony Randall.

Simon drew on his tumultuous New York Jewish upbringing in many of his works.

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".

Neil Simon is survived by his daughters Ellen, Nancy and Bryn, three grandchildren and one great-grandson.



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