55 Facts About Neil Simon


Marvin Neil Simon was an American playwright, screenwriter and author.


Neil Simon wrote more than 30 plays and nearly the same number of movie screenplays, mostly film adaptations of his plays.


Neil Simon has received three Tony Awards, and a Golden Globe Award as well as nominations for four Academy Awards and four Primetime Emmy Awards.


Neil Simon was awarded a Special Tony Award in 1975, the Kennedy Center Honors in 1995 and the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 2006.


Neil Simon often took refuge in movie theaters, where he enjoyed watching early comedians like Charlie Chaplin.


Neil Simon's first produced play was Come Blow Your Horn.


Neil Simon's style ranged from farce to romantic comedy to more serious dramatic comedy.


In 1966, he had four successful productions running on Broadway at the same time, and in 1983 he became the only living playwright to have a New York theatre, the Neil Simon Theatre, named in his honor.


Neil Simon was born on July 4,1927, in The Bronx, New York City, to Jewish parents.


Neil Simon's father, Irving Simon, was a garment salesman, and his mother, Mamie Simon, was mostly a homemaker.


Neil Simon grew up in Washington Heights, Manhattan, and graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School when he was sixteen.


Neil Simon's childhood was marked by his parents' "tempestuous marriage" and the financial hardship caused by the Depression.


Neil Simon was able to do that at the movies, in the work of stars like Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Laurel and Hardy.


Neil Simon attained the rank of corporal and was eventually sent to Colorado.


Neil Simon was assigned to Lowry Air Force Base during 1945 and attended the University of Denver from 1945 to 1946.


Neil Simon quit his job as a mailroom clerk in the Warner Brothers offices in Manhattan to write radio and television scripts with his brother Danny Neil Simon, under the tutelage of radio humorist Goodman Ace, who ran a short-lived writing workshop for CBS.


Neil Simon later wrote scripts for The Phil Silvers Show, for episodes broadcast during 1958 and 1959.


Neil Simon incorporated some of these experiences into his play Laughter on the 23rd Floor.


Neil Simon took three years to create that first play, partly because he was working on television scripts.


Neil Simon rewrote it at least twenty times from beginning to end: "It was the lack of belief in myself", he recalled.


Neil Simon's work ranged from romantic comedies to serious drama.


Neil Simon adapted material originated by others, such as the musical Little Me, based on the novel by Patrick Dennis; Sweet Charity from the screenplay for the film Nights of Cabiria, written by Federico Fellini and others; and Promises, Promises a musical version of Billy Wilder's film, The Apartment.


Neil Simon served as an uncredited "script doctor", helping to hone the books of Broadway-bound plays or musicals under development, as he did for A Chorus Line.


Neil Simon drew "extensively on his own life and experience" for his stories.


Neil Simon's settings are typically working-class New York City neighborhoods, similar to the ones in which he grew up.


Neil Simon received his greatest critical acclaim for this trilogy.


Neil Simon received a Pulitzer Prize for his follow-up play, Lost in Yonkers, which starred Mercedes Ruehl and was a success on Broadway.


Neil Simon is credited as playwright and contributing writer to at least 49 Broadway plays.


Neil Simon chose not to write the screenplay for the first film adaptation of his work, Come Blow Your Horn, preferring to focus on his playwriting.


The key aspect most consistent in Neil Simon's writing style is comedy, situational and verbal, and presents serious subjects in a way that makes audiences "laugh to avoid weeping".


Neil Simon achieved this with rapid-fire jokes and wisecracks, in a wide variety of urban settings and stories.


Neil Simon created everyday, apparently simple conflicts with his stories, which became comical premises for problems which needed be solved.


Some critics have therefore described his stories as somewhat old fashioned, although Johnson points out that most members of his audiences "are delighted to find Neil Simon upholding their own beliefs".


Neil Simon was willing to experiment and take risks, often moving his plays in new and unexpected directions.


Neil Simon's characters are typically "imperfect, unheroic figures who are at heart decent human beings", according to Koprince, and she traces Neil Simon's style of comedy back to that of Menander, a playwright of ancient Greece.


Menander, like Neil Simon, used average people in domestic life settings, and blended humor and tragedy into his themes.


Neil Simon's characters are "likable" and easy for audiences to identify with.


Many of Neil Simon's plays are set in New York City, with a resulting urban flavor.


Neil Simon's plays are generally semi-autobiographical, often portraying aspects of his troubled childhood and first marriages.


When Neil Simon's time comes to be judged among successful playwrights of the twentieth century, he will definitely be first among equals.


Similarly, literary critic Robert Johnson explains that Neil Simon's plays have given us a "rich variety of entertaining, memorable characters" who portray the human experience, often with serious themes.


Broadway critic Walter Kerr tries to rationalize why Neil Simon's work has been underrated:.


Neil Simon is, in fact, one of the finest writers of comedy in American literary history.


Neil Simon became a widower in 1973 when Baim died of bone cancer at age 41; Ellen was 16 and her sister Nancy just 10 at the time.


Neil Simon adopted Bryn, Lander's daughter from a previous relationship.


Neil Simon was on the board of selectors of Jefferson Awards for Public Service.


In 2004, Neil Simon received a kidney transplant from his long-time friend and publicist Bill Evans.


Neil Simon held three honorary degrees: a Doctor of Humane Letters from Hofstra University, a Doctor of Letters from Marquette University and a Doctor of Law from Williams College.


In 1983 Neil Simon became the only living playwright to have a New York City theatre named after him.


The Alvin Theatre on Broadway was renamed the Neil Simon Theatre in his honor, and he was an honorary board of trustees member of the Walnut Street Theatre, Philadelphia, America's oldest theatre.


Also in 1983, Neil Simon was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.


Neil Simon won the 1978 Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture Screenplay for The Goodbye Girl.


The Neil Simon Festival is a professional summer repertory theatre devoted to preserving the works of Simon and his contemporaries.


The Neil Simon Festival was founded by Richard Dean Bugg in 2003.


In 2006, Neil Simon received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.