Whether or not you know his name, you have undoubtedly benefitted from the great work of the American playwright Neil Simon, who died on Sunday in New York at the age of 91. His humor fundamentally shaped comedy writing on Broadway and across many mediums in the 20th century. Simon was one of the most successful Broadway playwrights of all time, and hits like Brighton Beach and Barefoot In the Park continue to be part of the theater curricula across the country. His most famous work might be The Odd Couple, which has been adapted for other mediums like film and television multiple times over.
Simon was also part of a coterie of men whose sensibilities, for better or worse, would come to define American comedy for their generation. Along with Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner, he was on the now-legendary staff of Sid Caesar's Your Show Of Shows (Woody Allen was around that scene as well, but he was not on the staff, though many mistakenly believe he was). In 2006, Simon won the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. He was also the winner of multiple Oscar and Tony Awards, and a Pulitzer Prize.
The final curtain has fallen for one of the gods of Broadway. Multiple #TonyAwards-winning playwright, librettist, screenwriter, and hitmaker Neil Simon has died at 91. Rest in peace. The @nytimes obit: https://t.co/XVgPLlEq9K pic.twitter.com/pZTtzYg0dU
— The Tony Awards (@TheTonyAwards) August 26, 2018
As Harvey Fierstein aptly put it, "Neil Simon – gone! A loss 4 the entire entertainment industry. He could write a joke that would make you laugh, define the character, the situation, and even the world's problems. First time I met him he looked at me and said, "Where the hell did they find you?" What a gent."
Neil Simon – gone! A loss 4 the entire entertainment industry.
He could write a joke that would make you laugh, define the character, the situation, and even the world's problems. First time I met him he looked at me and said, "Where the hell did they find you?" What a gent.
— Harvey Fierstein (@HarveyFierstein) August 26, 2018
Per Time, Simon "died early Sunday of complications from pneumonia surrounded by family at New York Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan."
Here, see reactions from celebrity fans, admirers and collaborators as they say goodbye to a once-in-a-lifetime talent:
I loved working for Neil Simon as his personal assistant and daily lunch date. He loved classic NYC diners and the movie Gunga Din. He was a great friend and mentor and I have always felt incredibly lucky. pic.twitter.com/vDvG6vhvU4
— caitlin brodnick (@caitybrodnick) August 26, 2018
Neil Simon the true Sunshine Boy. Happy I got to have fun with him. Peace
— Danny DeVito (@DannyDeVito) August 26, 2018
Neil Simon brought a unique eye for life to stage and screen. Through sharp characters and dialogue, he prodded us – in laughter and tears – to contend with the traits that make us human. Another voice who understood the power of art in our American story now belongs to eternity.
— Dan Rather (@DanRather) August 26, 2018
A lot of my heroes are dying. What a sad few weeks this has been. #RIPNeilSimon
Neil Simon, a Master of Comedy on Broadway and Beyond, Is Dead at 91 https://t.co/F4qd2RQZve
— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) August 26, 2018
To say that #NeilSimon was one of the primary influences on my life and career would be an understatement. His work, as both a participant and audience, has defined and shaped me on my own journies and [email protected] trajectory. RIP to another lost legend.
— Josh Gad (@joshgad) August 26, 2018
“There’s no more money anyone can pay me that I need. There are no awards they can give me that I haven’t won. I have no reason to write another play except that I am alive and I like to do it”-Neil Simon #RIP GIANT of the American Theatre #ThanksForTheLaughs pic.twitter.com/NZIVGPLdst
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) August 26, 2018
R.I.P. Neil Simon. Grew up going to his plays in NYC. Always hoped I’d work for him at some point.
— (((Joshua Malina))) (@JoshMalina) August 26, 2018
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Kylie Jenner wears white nails. Photo courtesy of Instagram.
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