Matthew Broderick says he owes his career to Neil Simon

Playwright Neil Simon has died at the age of 91

Playwright Neil Simon has died at the age of 91

Neil Simon has sadly passed away at the age of 91.

Simon gained global fame in the 1960s for stage and screen comedies including The Odd Couple and Barefoot In The Park.

Neil Simon, the prolific and Pulitzer Prize-winning United States playwright celebrated as the king of comedy who won more Oscar and Tony nominations combined than any other showbiz writer, died on Sunday.

In the 1980s, he produced the semi-autobiographical trilogy of plays "Brighton Beach Memoirs", "Biloxi Blues" and "Broadway Bound" starring a young Matthew Broderick as the playwright's alter ego Eugene Jerome.

"The good mechanic knows how to take a vehicle apart; I love to take the human mind apart and see how it works", he told the Paris Review in 1994. Even if my own taste was already evolving more toward Albee, it remains to this day the funniest production of anything I've ever seen in the theater.

"There are no awards they can give me that I haven't won". I didn't realize until someone said after the first reading that the play was really a love letter to my mother!

According to Bill Evans, Simon's longtime friend and the Shubert Organization director of media relations, the playwright died early Sunday of complications from pneumonia at New York Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan. No matter. For much of his career, audiences embraced his work, which often focused on middle-class, urban life, numerous plots drawn from his own personal experience. He would later attend the University of Denver, honing his craft.

The brains behind more than 30 plays, 20 screenplays and 5 musicals, Time magazine dubbed him the "patron saint of laughter".

Simon is survived by his wife, actress Elaine Joyce, and his daughters, Nancy, Ellen and Bryn. Of note is the fact that he had one Broadway season in 1966 in which four of his plays were running simultaneously: "Barefoot in the Park"; "The Odd Couple"; "Sweet Charity"; and "The Star-Spangled Girl".

Marvin Neil Simon was born on July 4, 1927, in the New York City borough of the Bronx, son of Irving, a garment salesman, and Mamie Simon. "When I say the critics are fair with me that includes the negative reviews because sometimes I agree with them", Simon told the Los Angeles Times in 1989. He also adapted The Odd Couple in 1968, Last of the Red Hot Lovers in 1972; The Prisoner of Second Avenue in 1975, and The Sunshine Boys in 1975, which won George Burns an Oscar. His first wife, Joan Baim, died of cancer in 1973, after 20 years of marriage.

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