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U.S. playwright Neil Simon, who grew to become one among Broadway’s most prolific and common playwrights as he combined humor, drama and introspection in works corresponding to The Odd Couple, The Goodbye Girl and Lost in Yonkers, died on Sunday on the age of 91, the New York Times reported, citing his publicist.
Simon drew on his tumultuous New York Jewish upbringing in a lot of his works.
A brand new Simon play virtually each theatrical season was a Broadway staple from 1960 by the mid-1990s, putting him within the ranks of America’s prime playwrights. He wrote greater than 40 performs that have been humorous, transferring and immensely common – typically shifting from slapstick to melodrama with the flip of a phrase.
At one level he had a document 4 performs working concurrently on Broadway.
Simon was known as “not just a show business success but an institution” by one New York critic. While his voice and comedy have been decidedly East Coast and infrequently mirrored an ethnic Jewish expertise, Simon‘s works performed to packed homes all over the world.
He received Tony Awards for The Odd Couple, Biloxi Blues and Lost in Yonkers and a fourth for his general contribution to American theater. He was nominated for 13 different Tonys.
Lost in Yonkers (1990), a painfully joke in regards to the relationship between an abusive mom and her grown youngsters, additionally received the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1991.
Simon‘s childhood was marred by the breakup of his dad and mom. At first he was reluctant to attract on that ache, fearing it might make his performs too darkish.
Later in his profession he would use his personal painful experiences, corresponding to within the semi-biographical Brighton Beach Memoirs, to provide his work extra depth.
But being entertaining was his major aim.
“When I was a kid, I climbed up on a stone ledge to watch an outdoor movie of Charlie Chaplin,” Simon as soon as instructed Life journal. “I laughed so hard I fell off, cut my head open and was taken to the doctor, bleeding and laughing … My idea of the ultimate achievement in a comedy is to make a whole audience fall onto the floor, writhing and laughing so hard that some of them pass out.”
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Simon‘s performs made him a rich man and plenty of have been became movies, which made him even wealthier and earned him 4 Academy Award nominations. Among his works showing on film screens have been Barefoot within the Park, Plaza Suite, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Biloxi Blues and Broadway Bound. The Odd Couple was made right into a profitable tv sitcom.
Early Simon works have been typically deemed too sentimental or business by critics, however as his profession entered its third decade, the performs grew extra severe, extra mature. Frank Rich of the New York Times wrote of Biloxi Blues (1985) that Simon “at last begins to examine himself honestly, without compromises, and as a result is his most persuasively serious effort.”
Marvin Neil Simon was born on July 4, 1927, within the New York City borough of the Bronx, son of Irving, a garment salesman, and Mamie Simon.
After attending New York University and the University of Denver and serving within the U.S. Air Force Reserve, Simon and his mentor, older brother Danny Simon, labored collectively within the 1940s writing comedy sketches for radio performer Goodman Ace.
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Simon and Danny, whose residing preparations as soon as impressed Neil‘s The Odd Couple, then moved to tv, working with such common entertainers as Sid Caesar, Phil Silver and Jackie Gleason, and with different writers together with Mel Brooks and Woody Allen.
Simon obtained Kennedy Center honors in 1995 from President Bill Clinton for his contribution to the humanities and to common tradition within the 20th century.
“He challenges us and himself never to take ourselves too seriously,” Clinton mentioned in presenting the award. “Thank you for the wit and the wisdom.”
Simon was married 5 occasions, twice to actress Diane Lander. He is survived by spouse Elaine Joyce and his three daughters from completely different marriages, the Times reported.
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