Playwright Neil Simon, who has received more Tony and Oscar nominations than any other writer, was born in New York on this date in 1927. Simon grew up poor and unhappy. He found work as a comedy writer for radio and television, including for The Phil Silvers Show and Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows in 1950, and also found success with his own comedies, including Come Blow Your Horn (1961), Barefoot in the Park (1963) and The Odd Couple (1965). Lost in Yonkers garnered him a Pulitzer Prize and critical acclaim as a writer with depth who explores issues of friendship, moral conventions, memory and forgiveness, and Jewish minority identity. Others of Simon’s thirty Broadway plays include I Ought to Be in Pictures, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Biloxi Blues, Broadway Bound, The Goodbye Girl, and Laughter on the 23rd Floor, which was based on his experiences writing with Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, and other comedy greats in the early days of television. Simon has also written at least twenty screenplays that have been made into films. For a retrospective on his career, look below.
“I was constantly being dragged out of movies for laughing too loud.” —Neil Simon