Neil Simon

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Simon, Neil

(Marvin Neil Simon), 1927–2018, American playwright, b. the Bronx, New York City. His plays, nearly all of them popular with audiences, if not always with critics, are comedies treating recognizable aspects of modern middle-class life. Simon spent his early years in television, pioneering the situation comedy and writing jokes for some of the medium's most successful comedians. His string of Broadway plays began with Come Blow Your Horn (1961). Particularly adept at portraying the middle-aged, Simon was a master jokesmith who built up his characters through funny lines rather than plot, although he often attempted serious themes. The Gingerbread Lady (1970), for example, deals honestly with alcoholism, and his Tony Award– and Pulitzer Prize–winning autobiographical comedy Lost in Yonkers (1991) treats the anguish of parental rejection. His other plays, many of which are semiautobiographical, include Barefoot in the Park (1963), his first Broadway success, The Odd Couple (1965, Tony Award), Plaza Suite (1968), The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1971), The Sunshine Boys (1972), The Good Doctor (1973), God's Favorite (1974), Brighton Beach Memoirs (1983), Biloxi Blues (1984, Tony Award), Broadway Bound (1986), Laughter on the 23d Floor (1993), and 45 Seconds from Broadway (2001), his last new Broadway play. Simon also wrote the books for several Broadway musicals, such as Sweet Charity (1966), Promises, Promises (1968), and They're Playing Our Song (1981). Many of Simon's plays have been adapted into films, often by Simon himself, and he wrote several original movies including The Heartbreak Kid (1972), Murder by Death (1976), and The Goodbye Girl (1977).


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).

Simon, (Marvin) Neil

(1927–  ) playwright; born in New York City. After fulfilling his obligation to the Air Force Reserve in 1946, he took a clerical job with Warner Brothers in New York, but soon began writing comic material for radio and television personalities (1947–60). With his brother Danny Simon he wrote sketches for Broadway shows such as Catch a Star (1955) and New Faces of 1956. His first full-length comedy, Come Blow Your Horn (1961), was a success but it was The Odd Couple (1965) that launched his career as late-20th-century America's most successful writer of comedies. Year in and year out he filled theaters—and eventually the television screen and moviehouses—with his string of popular comedies and musicals (Sweet Charity, 1966; Promises, Promises, 1969); in 1966 he had four hit shows on Broadway. At the same time, he became increasingly dissatisfied at hearing himself dismissed as a gag-writer, and starting with The Gingerbread Lady (1970), he began to deal with more serious themes; with Chapter Two (1977), he became autobiographical; and with Brighton Beach Memoirs (1983) he began a series of dramas drawing on his youthful years; he was finally given serious recognition with the Pulitzer for Lost in Yonkers (1991).
References in periodicals archive ?
At the time of his brother's death, Neil Simon wrote the following observations about Danny Simon: "He was a character (in more ways than one) in at least nine or 10 of my plays, and I'm sure will probably be there again in many plays to come.
Back from re-hab Evy is penniless but since she is a characture Neil Simon has surrounded her with the kind of odd-balls he digs up out of the ether.
Every moment you are in the spotlight in a Neil Simon play, you know that the audience will be eating out of your hand.
A perfect place for Neil Simon to draw his memories from.
Inspired by the prostitute of Fellini's ``Nights of Cabiria,'' the Americanized version written by Neil Simon is a smart-mouthed taxi dancer so aching for love that she practically has whiplash from a lifetime spent turning the other cheek.
As part of their programmes to mark the 40th anniversary of his assassination, Radio Two has collected reminiscences of Kennedy's 1,000 days in office from an eclectic bunch of talking heads including Neil Simon, Joan Baez, Janet Leigh and Harry Belafonte.
LAST YEAR AT THIS TIME, the runaway hit of the season, Hairspray, was already ensconced al the Neil Simon Theatre.
What I love the most about Neil Simon is, just as you think you've figured out what he's got going, he changes it on you.
Hairspray * Book by Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan * Music by Marc Shaiman * Lyrics by Shaiman and Scott Wittman * Directed by Jack O'Brien * Starring Harvey Fierstein, Marissa Jaret Winokur * Neil Simon Theatre, New York City (open run)
You come away, in fact, realizing once again that Neil Simon is not too imaginative.
There is a very good reason why plays written by Neil Simon are so popular.