Wed | Dec 12, 2018

Neil Simon, Broadway's master of comedy, dies at 91

Published:Monday | August 27, 2018 | 12:00 AM


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. He was 91.

Simon died early yesterday of complications from pneumonia at New York Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan, said Bill Evans, a long-time friend and spokesman for Shubert Organization theatres.

In the second half of the 20th century, Simon was the American theatre's most successful and prolific playwright, often chronicling middle-class issues and fears. Starting with Come Blow Your Horn in 1961 and continuing into the next century, he rarely stopped working on a new play or musical. His list of credits is staggering.

The theatre world quickly mourned his death, including Tony Award-winning actor and playwright Harvey Fierstein, who tweeted that Simon "could write a joke that would make you laugh, define the character, the situation, and even the world's problems".

Matthew Broderick, who in 1983 made his Broadway debut in Simon's Brighton Beach Memoirs and his movie debut in Simon's Max Dugan Returns, added: "I owe him a career. The theatre has lost a brilliantly funny, unthinkably wonderful writer. And even after all this time, I feel I have lost a mentor, a father figure, a deep influence in my life and work."