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Marvin Neil Simon (born July 4, 1927) is an American playwright and screenwriter. His numerous Broadwaymarker succcesses have led to his work being among the most regularly performed in the world. Though primarily a comic writer, some of his plays, particularly the Eugene Trilogy and The Sunshine Boys, reflect on the twentieth century Jewish-American experience.

Early years

Simon was born in The Bronxmarker, New York Citymarker to Mamie and Irving Simon, a garment salesman. He attended DeWitt Clinton High School. He briefly attended New York Universitymarker from 1944 to 1945 and the University of Denvermarker from 1945 to 1946. Two years later, he quit his job as a mailroom clerk in the Warner Brothers offices in Manhattanmarker to write radio and television scripts with his brother Danny Simon, including a tutelage under radio humourist Goodman Ace when Ace ran a short-lived writing workshop for CBS. Their revues for Camp Tamiment in Pennsylvaniamarker in the early 1950s caught the attention of Sid Caesar, who hired the duo for his popular TV comedy series Your Show of Shows. Simon later incorporated their experiences into his play Laughter on the 23rd Floor. His work won him two Emmy Award nominations and the appreciation of Phil Silvers, who hired him to write for Sergeant Bilko in 1959.


In 1961, Simon's first Broadwaymarker play, Come Blow Your Horn, opened at the Brooks Atkinson Theatremarker, where it ran for 678 performances. Six weeks after its closing, his second production, the musical Little Me opened to mixed reviews. Although it failed to attract a large audience, it earned Simon his first Tony Award nomination. Overall, he has garnered seventeen Tony nominations and won three. He also won the 1991 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Lost In Yonkers.

In 1966 Simon had four shows running on Broadway at the same time: Sweet Charity, The Star-Spangled Girl, The Odd Couple, and Barefoot in the Park. His professional association with producer Emanuel Azenberg began with The Sunshine Boys in 1972 and continued with The Good Doctor, God's Favorite, Chapter Two, They're Playing Our Song, I Ought to Be in Pictures, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Biloxi Blues, Broadway Bound, Jake's Women, The Goodbye Girl, and Laughter on the 23rd Floor, among others.

Simon also has written screenplays for more than twenty films. These include adaptations of his own plays and original work too, including The Out-of-Towners, Murder by Death and The Goodbye Girl. He has received four Best Screenplay Academy Award nominations.

Simon has been conferred with two honoris causa degrees; a Doctor of Humane Letters from Hofstra Universitymarker and a Doctor of Laws from Williams College. He is the namesake of the legitimate Broadway theater the Neil Simon Theatremarker, formerly the Alvin Theatremarker, and an honorary member of the Walnut Street Theatremarker's board of trustees.

Personal life

Simon has habitually married, having married five times, to dancer Joan Baim (1953-1973), actress Marsha Mason (1973-1981), twice to Diane Lander (1987-1988 and 1990-1998), and currently actress Elaine Joyce. He is the father of Nancy and Ellen, from his first marriage, and Bryn, Lander's daughter from a previous relationship whom he adopted.





Further reading


  1. Kipen, David. "Flawed look at career of blacklisted director", San Francisco Chronicle, August 29, 2001. Accessed September 14, 2009. "The American 20th century went to high school at DeWitt Clinton High in the Bronx. Multicultural before there was a name for it -- at least a polite one --Clinton nurtured such diverse and influential figures as Bill Graham, James Baldwin, George Cukor, Neil Simon and Abraham Lincoln Polonsky."

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