Iconic American Playwright Neil Simon Is Dead At 91

Virginia Kruta Associate Editor
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Award-winning playwright Neil Simon passed away at the age of 91 on Sunday. His death was announced by his publicist, Bill Evans. His cause of death was reported as “complications from pneumonia.”

The iconic writer earned both a Tony Award and a Pulitzer Prize in 1991 for the semi-autobiographical “Lost in Yonkers,” but his voice was also prominent in both television and film. He wrote for comedy greats like Sid Caesar and Phil Silver, and alongside icons like Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks and Larry Gelbart.

Over the course of his career, Simon was nominated for 17 Tony Awards (he won 3) and earned four Oscar nominations as well.

For 1978’s “The Goodbye Girl” alone, Simon was nominated for his screenplay. In addition, the film won best actor (Richard Dreyfuss), received a best picture nomination, and received nominations for best actress (Marsha Mason) and best supporting actress (Quinn Cummings).

His contributions to the large and small screens included “The Goodbye Girl,” “Biloxi Blues,” “The Odd Couple,” “Brighton Beach Memoirs” and “Barefoot in the Park,” and his dry wit made his comedy as engaging as it was relatable.

His view of life:

I love living. I have some problems with my life, but living is the best thing they’ve come up with so far.

And taking risks:

If no one ever took risks, Michelangelo would have painted the Sistine floor.

And why he always preferred New York City to Los Angeles:

When it’s 100 degrees in New York, it’s 72 in Los Angeles. When it’s 30 degrees in New York, in Los Angeles it’s still 72. However, there are 6 million interesting people in New York, and only 72 in Los Angeles.

Fans and colleagues immediately paid their respects to the genuine icon.


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