Broadway master of comedy Neil Simon dies aged 91

Neil Simon appears at the curtain call for the opening night performance of the Broadway musical

Neil Simon has sadly passed away at the age of 91. "She was the one that was left alone", he told the Paris Review. In 2004, according to TMZ, Neil Simon had undergone a kidney transplant with an organ donated by his publicist.

Looking to get into writing for the stage, Simon launched on Broadway with Come Blow Your Horn and Little Me, which starred Caesar.

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.

After attending New York University and the University of Denver and serving in the US Air Force Reserve, Simon and his mentor, older brother Danny Simon, worked together in the 1940s writing comedy sketches for radio performer Goodman Ace.

Broderick in 1983 made both his Broadway debut in Simon's "Brighton Beach Memoirs" and his movie debut in Simon's "Max Dugan Returns".

He followed that play with "Barefoot in the Park" (1963), which ran for 1,530 performances, and then "The Odd Couple"(1965) a massive success that was reprised as a television series in the 1970s and again in 2015. He is survived by three children, and a memorial service is already scheduled for this Thursday in New York City. My job allowed me to stand in the back of the house and watch it repeatedly. The show, along with "Barefoot in the Park, "Sweet Charity", and "The Star-Spangled Girl", all ran on Broadway simultaneously in 1967".

In 1991, Simon achieved the highest honor in USA drama, winning the Pulitzer Prize for "Lost in Yonkers", an autobiographical comedy about a mother and her daughter that was his last big splash on Broadway. 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". "I really was in the mood to sort of go back and write just out-and-out amusing, because it's what I felt I needed in my own life".

Simon's critics saw a schematic regularity to his work - a fair criticism, perhaps, albeit often one sourced in jealousy from those who strived but could not match his popularity and easy familiarity with ordinary people. The prolific writer was nominated for four Oscars and won three Tony Awards.

"Neil has the ability to write characters, even the leading characters that we're supposed to root for, that are absolutely flawed".

"The good mechanic knows how to take a vehicle apart; I love to take the human mind apart and see how it works".

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