Neil Simon dead at 91

Playwright Neil Simon, Creator of ‘The Odd Couple’ and ‘Barefoot in the Park,’ Dies at 91

Many of his plays were adapted into movies, and one, "The Odd Couple", even became a popular television series.

According to TMZ, Simon died early Sunday morning after having been on life support for some time; he had a failing kidney, as well as Alzheimer's Disease and dementia.

Simon was a multiple Tony Award victor, having been nominated 17 times and winning three, and the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 2006.

He won the Pulitzer in 1991, for Lost in Yonkers, three Tony awards and one for special achievement, and the Mark Twain prize for humour. Of note is the fact that he had one Broadway season in 1966 in which four of his plays were running simultaneously: "Barefoot in the Park"; "The Odd Couple"; "Sweet Charity"; and "The Star-Spangled Girl".

Its first appearance was as a 1965 Broadway play that won Tonys for Simon, star Walter Matthau and director Mike Nichols. It was to have run in repertory with Simon's "Broadway Bound", which was also canceled.

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He was a meticulous joke smith, peppering his plays, especially the early ones, with comic one-liners and humorous situations that critics said sometimes came at the expense of character and believability.

Later in his career he would use his own painful experiences, such as in the semi-biographical Brighton Beach Memoirs, to give his work more depth.

Neil was born in the Bronx, New York, and went on to study at the New York University as well as the University Of Denver, Colorado, while he also served in the United States Army Air Force Reserve. Neil Simon's death was reported by The Hollywood Reporter.

Simon was married five times, twice to actress Diane Lander. Simon dealt with her death in Chapter Two (1977), telling the story of a widower who starts anew. They were divorced in 1982.

Simon drew on his tumultuous New York Jewish upbringing in many of his works. "His wife, Elaine Joyce Simon, was at his bedside along with Mr. Simon's daughters, Ellen Simon and Nancy Simon". "As George and Ira Gershwin said, 'They Can't Take That Away From Me"'.

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