USA playwright Neil Simon dies aged 91

USA playwright Neil Simon dies aged 91

USA playwright Neil Simon dies aged 91

Beloved playwright Neil Simon passed away on Sunday, and he was honored by none other than Mark Hamill on Twitter.

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

Broadway critic Walter Kerr also praised Simon: "Because Americans have always tended to underrate writers who make them laugh, Neil Simon's accomplishment have not gained as much serious critical praise as they deserve". Behavior is absolutely the most interesting thing I can write about. First time I met him he looked at me and said, "Where the hell did they find you?" "I thought it was a grim, dark play about two lonely men", he told the Paris Review in 1994, in an interview conducted by "Inside the Actors Studio's" James Lipton.

A statement from his reps said, "Neil Simon, the Pulitzer Prize-winning American playwright, died last night at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City".

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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.

"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. He was the child of a garment salesman named Irving Simon and a mother, Mamie Simon, who worked at a department store. He is survived by wife Elaine Joyce and his three daughters from different marriages, Evans said. Among Simon's most-loved and vividly characterized plays was "The Sunshine Boys", an especially hilarious 1972 tribute to the crusty vaudevillians of the old school, a type known personally to a writer who had paid his dues in the comedic salt mines and somehow remembered everything. After running The Phil Silvers Show through the late '50s, Simon began writing for the stage.

Such was his wealth that he produced many of his plays and in 1983 he was given the rare accolade of having a NY stage, the Neil Simon Theatre, named in his honor.

Besides Sweet Charity (1966) and Promises, Promises (1968), Simon wrote the books for several other musicals. Later on, Simon would literally adapt Chekhov to the stage (none too well), but in the original Odd Couple and here and there in his later works, he married a three-dimensional humanity to his genius for writing jokes. Many of his plays were adapted into movies, and one, "The Odd Couple", even became a popular television series. She was his fourth wife after Joan Baim, Marsha Mason and Diane Lander.

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