Neil Simon Cause of Death: How Did the Playwright Die?

There's a Broadway theater named for him; he was the only living person to have received such recognition. "It is always a dilemma, not a situation", Simon told The Paris Review. My job allowed me to stand in the back of the house and watch it repeatedly. This is where you belong. This is where I want to go.

At one point he had a record four plays running simultaneously on Broadway. Jack Klugman and Tony Randall appeared in the TV series.

"In the '70s he turned out "The Prisoner of Second Avenue", "The Sunshine Boys" and "California Suite" while his '80s works included "Brighton Beach Memoirs", Biloxi Blues", "Broadway Bound" and "Rumors". It was a hit from the get-go with critics and audiences during its gestation in Washington, but Simon and Nichols kept making changes, including in the play's ending, right up until it was time to pack up and move to the Plymouth Theater in NY.

In 1991, Simon achieved the highest honor in U.S. 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. "For nearly half a century, his comedies have offered light at the end of whatever dark tunnel America has found itself in".

The bespectacled, mild-looking Simon - described in a New York Times magazine profile as looking like an accountant or librarian who dressed "just this side of drab" - was a relentless writer and rewriter.

But there were other plays and musicals, too, more than 30 in all.

"I think, by and large, I've had my fair shake from the critics ..."

Simon was the recipient of four Tony Awards, the Pulitzer Prize, the Kennedy Centre honours (1995), four Writers' Guild of America Awards and an American Comedy Awards Lifetime Achievement honour. Later on, Simon would literally adapt Chekhov to the stage (none too well), but in the original Odd Couple and here and there in his later works, he married a three-dimensional humanity to his genius for writing jokes.

Simon was called "not just a show business success but an institution" by one NY critic. The careers of such beloved comedic actors as Nathan Lane, Walter Matthau and Matthew Broderick all rose as those grateful performers spoke Simon's lines.

"There is no American comedy writer whose work isn't influenced by the rhythm and music of Neil Simon's words".

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


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