Marvin Neil Simon (born July 4, 1927 in The Bronx, New York City), is an American playwright and screenwriter. He is one of the most reliable hitmakers in Broadway history, as well as one of the most performed playwrights in the world. From the mid sixties to the mid Eighties, Simon's name became a synonym for popular and financial success. Though primarily a comic writer, some of his plays, particularly the Eugene Trilogy and The Sunshine Boys, reflect on the twentieth century Jewish-American experience.
After attending De Witt Clinton High School in the Bronx, Simon briefly attended New York University
in 1946. Two years later, he quit his job as a mailroom clerk in the Warner Brothers
offices in Manhattan
to write radio and television scripts with his brother Danny Simon
, including a tutelage under radio comedy legend Goodman Ace
when Ace ran a short-lived writing workshop for CBS
. Their revues for Camp Tamiment
in the early 1950s caught the attention of Sid Caesar
, who hired the duo for his popular TV comedy series Your Show of Shows
. Simon later incorporated their experiences into his play Laughter on the 23rd Floor
. His work won him two Emmy Award
nominations and the appreciation of Phil Silvers
, who hired him to write for his eponymous sitcom in 1959.
In 1961, Simon's first Broadway play, Come Blow Your Horn, opened at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, where it ran for 678 performances. Six weeks after its closing, his second production, the musical Little Me opened to mixed reviews. Although it failed to attract a large audience, it earned Simon his first Tony Award nomination. Overall, he has garnered seventeen Tony nominations and won three. He has also won a Pulitzer Prize in drama for Lost In Yonkers.
In 1966 Simon had four shows running on Broadway at the same time: Sweet Charity, Star Spangled Girl, The Odd Couple, and Barefoot in the Park. His portfolio includes the light comedies Barefoot in the Park and The Odd Couple, the darker, more autobiographical works, Chapter Two and the Eugene Trilogy made up of Brighton Beach Memoirs, Biloxi Blues and Broadway Bound, and his books for musical comedies, Sweet Charity and Promises, Promises.
He has also written screenplay for more than twenty films. These include adaptations of his own plays as well as original work, including The Out-of-Towners, Murder by Death and The Goodbye Girl. He has received four Best Screenplay Academy Award nominations.
Simon has been married five times, to dancer Joan Baim (1953-1973), actress Marsha Mason (1973-1981), twice to Diane Lander (1987-1988 and 1990-1998), and currently actress Elaine Joyce. He is the father of Nancy and Ellen, from his first marriage, and Bryn, Lander's daughter from a previous relationship whom he adopted.
Simon has been conferred with two honoris causa degrees; a Doctor of Humane Letters from Hofstra University and a Doctor of Laws from Williams College. He is the namesake of the legitimate Broadway theater the Neil Simon Theatre, formerly the Alvin Theatre, and an honorary member of the Walnut Street Theatre's board of trustees.
- 1963: Come Blow Your Horn - Director: Bud Yorkin, screenplay by Norman Lear with Frank Sinatra and Lee J. Cobb
- 1966: After the Fox - Director: Vittorio DeSica with Peter Sellers and Victor Mature
- 1967: Barefoot in the Park - Director: Gene Saks with Robert Redford and Jane Fonda
- 1968: The Odd Couple - Director: Gene Saks with Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau
- 1969: Sweet Charity - Director: Bob Fosse with Shirley MacLaine, Chita Rivera and Sammy Davis Jr.
- 1970: The Out-of-Towners - Director: Arthur Hiller with Jack Lemmon
- 1971: Plaza Suite - Director: Arthur Hiller with Walter Matthau
- 1972: The Last of the Red Hot Lovers - Director: Gene Saks with Alan Arkin
- 1972: The Heartbreak Kid - Director: Elaine May with Cybill Shepard and Charles Grodin
- 1975: The Prisoner of Second Avenue - Director: Melvin Frank with Jack Lemmon and Anne Bancroft
- 1975: The Sunshine Boys - Director: Herbert Ross with Walter Matthau and George Burns
- 1976: Murder by Death - Director: Robert Moore with Truman Capote, Peter Falk, Alec Guinness, David Niven and Peter Sellers
- 1977: The Goodbye Girl - Director: Herbert Ross with Richard Dreyfuss and Marsha Mason
- 1978: The Cheap Detective - Director: Robert Moore with Peter Falk, Louise Fletcher, Stockard Channing, Madeline Kahn, John Houseman, Nicol Williamson and Eileen Brennan
- 1978: California Suite - Director: Herbert Ross with Jane Fonda, Alan Alda, Maggie Smith, Michael Caine, Walter Matthau, Richard Pryor and Bill Cosby
- 1980: Seems Like Old Times - Director: Jay Sandrich with Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase
- 1982: I Ought To Be In Pictures - Director: Herbert Ross with Walter Matthau
- 1982: Sonny Boys - Director: Rolf von Sydow with Carl-Heinz Schroth and Johannes Heesters
- 1983: Max Dugan Returns - Director: Herbert Ross with Matthew Broderick, Marsha Mason, Jason Robards, Kiefer Sutherland and Donald Sutherland
- 1984: The Lonely Guy - Director: Arthur Hiller with Steve Martin
- 1985: The Slugger's Wife - Director: Hal Ashby with Michael O'Keefe and Rebecca De Mornay
- 1988: Biloxi Blues - Director: Mike Nichols with Matthew Broderick and Christopher Walken
- 1991: The Marrying Man - Director: Jerry Rees with Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin
- 1993: Lost in Yonkers - Director: Martha Coolidge with Richard Dreyfuss
- 1995: The Sunshine Boys - Director: John Erman with Woody Allen and Peter Falk
- 1998: The Odd Couple II - Director: Howard Deutch with Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau
- 2001: Sonny Boys - Director: Jörg Hube with Werner Schneyder and Dieter Hildebrandt
- 2004: The Goodbye Girl with Patricia Heaton and Jeff Daniels for Turner Network Television