Gentle humor was the lifeblood of playwright Neil Simon

27 August, 2018, 16:25 | Author: Christina Harvey
  • Neil Simon

His death in a NY hospital of complications from pneumonia was announced by Bill Evans, his friend and publicist.

He was also known as a king of comedy, peppering his plays with a heavy dose of witty one-liners. Like The Odd Couple, that award-winning show would go on to also become a Hollywood film.

He once had a record four plays running on Broadway simultaneously and in 1983 became the first playwright to have a theatre on the NY street named after him.

Broadway legend Neil Simon has died.

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.

By the early 1980's, Simon started to get more serious; he penned an autobiographical trilogy: "Brighton Beach Memoirs" in 1983, a drama of his adolescence, "Biloxi Blues", which won the Tony for best play, "Broadway Bound", about his early career in the theater.

Simon was the author of critically acclaimed and commercial hits such as "Barefoot in the Park" (1963) "The Odd Couple" (1965) "The Sunshine Boys" (1974) and "Lost in Yonkers" (1990).




It nevertheless serves as a testament to the durability of Simon's work that his writing has not only survived across decades but allowed for multiple versions and new takes. In 1991, "Lost in Yonkers" won him a Pulitzer Prize for drama, and the play won a Tony for best play.

But it was his second play, "Barefoot in the Park", that really put Simon on the map. He followed with another smash hit, "The Odd Couple."Simon wrote the libretti for the musicals "Sweet Charity" and "Promises, Promises", then followed with another big hit, "Plaza Suite", and another, "The Last of the Red Hot Lovers".

Simon straddled those not-always-compatible disciplines with an ease that eluded many other playwrights.

He was married 5 times to 4 different women - he married his third wife twice - and had 3 children.

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

The two were reportedly still married at the time of Simon's death. "The theater has lost a brilliantly amusing, unthinkably wonderful writer and even after all this time I feel I have lost a mentor, a father figure, a deep influence in my life and work".

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