Neil Simon

Neil Simon

[sahy-muhn; Fr. see-mawn for 7]
Simon, Neil (Marvin Neil Simon), 1927-, American playwright, b. New York City. His plays, nearly all of them popular, if not always critical successes, are comedies treating recognizable aspects of modern middle-class life. Particularly adept at portraying the middle-aged, Simon is a master jokesmith who builds up his characters through funny lines rather than plot, although he does often attempt serious themes. The Gingerbread Lady (1970), for example, deals honestly with alcoholism, and his Pulitzer Prize-winning Lost in Yonkers (1991) treats the anguish of parental rejection. His many other plays include Come Blow Your Horn (1961), Barefoot in the Park (1963), The Odd Couple (1965), Plaza Suite (1968), The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1971), The Good Doctor (1973), God's Favorite (1974), Brighton Beach Memoirs (1983), Biloxi Blues (1984), Broadway Bound (1986), Laughter on the 23d Floor (1993), and 45 Seconds from Broadway (2001). Many of his plays have been adapted into films, and Simon has written numerous screenplays.

See his memoirs, Rewrites (1996) and The Play Goes On (1999); biography by R. Johnson (1985); studies by E. M. McGovern (2d ed. 1979), R. K. Johnson (1983), G. Konas, ed. (1997), H. Bloom, ed. (2002), and S. Koprince (2002).

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 Pennsylvania 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.






External links

Search another word or see neil simonon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2015, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature