Speed Reads


Playwright Neil Simon dies at 91

Celebrated playwright Neil Simon died Sunday in Manhattan from complications of pneumonia. He was 91.

Simon was born in the Bronx on July 4, 1927, and launched his career as a writer for Sid Caesar and Phil Silvers. He made his mark on Broadway with Barefoot in the Park in 1963 and The Odd Couple in 1965; in 1966, he had four Broadway shows going at the same time. From 1965 to 1980, his plays and musicals were performed more than 9,000 times, and in 1991, he won the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize for Lost in Yonkers. He also received accolades for the 1980s trilogy Brighton Beach Memoirs, Biloxi Blues, and Broadway Bound.

In 1983, a Broadway theater was named after him, an honor rare for a living playwright. Simon was married five times, and is survived by his wife Elaine Joyce; daughters Ellen Simon, Nancy Simon, and Bryn Lander Simon; three grandchildren; and one great-grandson.