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Celebrities pay tribute to Pulitzer prize-winning playwright Neil Simon

Celebrities pay tribute to Pulitzer prize-winning playwright Neil Simon

Among Simon's most critically acclaimed works is the trilogy of autobiographical plays, "Brighton Beach Memoirs", which won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for best play, "Biloxi Blues", which won the Tony Award for best play, and "Broadway Bound". Simon died around 1 a.m. Sunday at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City.

He won the Pulitzer in 1991, for Lost in Yonkers, three Tony awards and one for special achievement, and the Mark Twain prize for humour.

A legend of American theater, he was responsible for such works as "The Odd Couple", "The Sunshine Boys", "Barefoot in the Park" and "Lost in Yonkers". Simon spoke later of the enormous influence these jobs had on his career, particularly the opportunity to work with some of the day's finest comedy writers: "I knew when I walked into 'Your Show of Shows, ' that this was the most talented group of writers that up until that time had ever been assembled together".

Simon was reportedly on life support just before his passing. He wrote his first Broadway play in 1961 with Come Blow Your Horn. First time I met him he looked at me and said, "Where the hell did they find you?"

"No playwright in Broadway's long and raucous history has so dominated the boulevard as the softly astringent Simon", The New Yorker's John Lahr wrote in 2010. And - more than any other single playwright of his generation - he invariably did so to packed Broadway houses and movie theaters, the rooms filled with the laughter of shared American experience. After running The Phil Silvers Show through the late '50s, Simon began writing for the stage.

Simon served in the military and then worked with his older brother Danny on producing jokes for television and radio scripts. When it's 20 in NY, it's 72 in Los Angeles. Simon's wife, Elaine Joyce Simon, was at the writer's bedside, along with Simon's daughters, Ellen and Nancy Simon.

His later film career included adaptations of his own plays, like 1968's The Odd Couple starring Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon, for which all three returned for a sequel thirty years later.

Simon's plays made him a wealthy man and many were turned into films, which made him even wealthier and earned him four Academy Award nominations.

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

In the 1990s, the commercial producer Michael Leavitt and Fox Theatricals staged several major productions of Simon's work at the Briar Street Theatre on Chicago's North Side.


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