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Neil Simon, Legendary Playwright, Dead at 91

Neil Simon, Legendary Playwright, Dead at 91
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Neil Simon, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer with more Oscar and Tony nominations than any other, has died, TMZ reports. He was 91.

The popular playwright — the first to have a Broadway house named for him while he was still living — had suffered from kidney failure and Alzheimer's disease.

Simon grew up in the Bronx in the '20s and '30s, later incorporating his family's hardscrabble existence into his most famous works. His output was uniquely American in tone and theme, and was so successful he has become one of the most widely produced and stylistically unique playwrights of all time.

He got his start writing for radio and early TV, including "Your Show of Shows" (1955-1959), for which he won an Emmy.

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Simon (in the back, facing camera) with Sid Caesar, Mel Brooks and the rest of the "Your Show of Shows" writing staff

In 1961, his play "Come Blow Your Horn" was a smash on Broadway, followed by "Little Me" (1962) and his iconic plays "Barefoot in the Park" (1963) and "The Odd Couple" (1965), the latter of which earned him his first Tony and became a pop cultural touchstone that spawned a classic film, a long-running TV series, and many other adaptations.

Through 2003, when "Rose's Dilemma" was produced, Simon wrote over 30 Broadway plays, among them such classics as "Sweet Charity" (1966); "Plaza Suite" (1968); "The Prisoner of Second Avenue" (1961); "The Sunshine Boys" (1972); "California Suite" (1977); "They're Playing Our Song" (1979); "I Ought to Be in Pictures" (1980); the trilogy comprised of "Brighton Beach Memoirs" (1983), "Biloxi Blues" (1985), and "Broadway Bound" (1986); and "Lost in Yonkers" (1991).

Simon also successfully adapted his work for the silver screen, and wrote original screenplays like "Murder by Death" (1976), "The Goodbye Girl" (1977), "The Cheap Detective" (1978), "Seems Like Old Times" (1980), and "The Odd Couple II" (1998). For his work in the movies, he received four Oscar nominations.

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Simon with wife Elaine Joyce in 2011

Simon, who was married five times, including a 10-year union with actress Marsha Mason, is survived by his wife, actress Elaine Joyce, and three children.

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