Playwright Neil Simon Dead At 91

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

Legendary Broadway playwright Neil Simon dead at age 91

Neil Simon - the USA playwright behind The Odd Couple - has died in hospital suffering with kidney failure at the age of 91.

Playwright Neil Simon, a master of comedy whose laugh-filled hits such as "The Odd Couple", "Barefoot in the Park" and his "Brighton Beach" trilogy dominated Broadway for decades, has died aged 91.

"Barefoot in the Park", about a bickering couple inspired by his first marriage, and "The Odd Couple" that followed, were credited with capturing the zeitgeist of the 1960s.

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.

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

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"The good mechanic knows how to take a auto apart; I love to take the human mind apart and see how it works", he told the Paris Review in 1994. Behavior is absolutely the most interesting thing I can write about.

"There are no awards they can give me that I haven't won".

Much of his work, peppered with witty one-liners, explored the everyday struggles of the middle-classes and inter-family conflict, influenced by his troubled upbringing during the Great Depression.

Simon attended New York University and the University of Colorado.

During his long career Simon wrote more than 30 plays and earned 17 Tony nominations. His wife, Elaine Joyce Simon, was at his bedside along with his daughters, Ellen Simon and Nancy Simon. 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". Among Simon's most-loved and vividly characterized plays was "The Sunshine Boys", an especially hilarious 1972 tribute to the crusty vaudevillians of the old school, a type known personally to a writer who had paid his dues in the comedic salt mines and somehow remembered everything.

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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.

"I know that I have reached the pinnacle of rewards", he said.

More recently, The Odd Couple was adapted for television (again) by CBS with Matthew Perry and Thomas Lennon. Simon also penned the books for such musicals as "Little Me", "Sweet Charity" and "They're Playing Our Song".

Perhaps Simon's most infamous production was the critically panned Rose's Dilemma, which opened at off-Broadway's non-profit Manhattan Theatre Club in December 2003.

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