Marvin Neil Simon
was born in the Bronx on July 4, 1927, and grew up in Washington
Heights at the northern tip of Manhattan. He attended New York
University briefly (1944-45) and the University of Denver (1945-46)
before joining the United States Army where he began his writing
career working for the Army camp newspaper.
After being discharged from the army, Simon returned to New
York and took a job as a mailroom clerk for Warner Brother's
East Coast office. He and his brother Danny began writing comedy
revues and eventually found their way into radio, then television
where they toiled alongside the likes of Woody Allen, Mel Brooks
and Larry Gelbart writing for The Phil Silvers Show and
Sid Caesar's Your Show of Shows. Simon received several
Emmy Award nominations for his television writing, then moved
on to the stage where he quickly established himself as America's
most successful commercial playwright by creating an unparalleled
string of Broadway hits beginning with Come Blow Your Horn.
During the 1966-67 season, Barefoot in the Park, The Odd Couple,
Sweet Charity and The Star Spangled Girl were all
running simultaneously. During the 1970-71 season, Broadway theatregoers
had their choice of Plaza Suite, Last of the Red Hot Lovers,
and Promises, Promises. Still, critical acclaim came
slowly for Simon. In spite of the fact that he had had more smash
hits than any other American playwright, critics continued to
take pleasure in dismissing him as a mere "writer of gags."
In 1973, following the death of his wife, Simon reached a
low point in his career with two failures The Good Doctor
(1973) and God's Favorite (1976). A move to California,
however, reinvigorated him and he produced a much more successful
play later that year in California Suite. After marrying
actress Marsha Mason, Simon went on to write Chapter Two
(1977) which was considered by many critics to be his finest
play to that date. His fourth musical, They're Playing Our
Song, proved fairly successful in 1979, but his next three
plays (I Ought to Be in Pictures, Fools and a revised
version of Little Me) all proved unsuccessful at the box
Then, in 1983, Simon began to win over many of his critics
with the introduction of his autobiographical trilogy--Brighton
Beach Memoirs (1983), Biloxi Blues (1985) and Broadway
Bound (1986)--which chronicled his stormy childhood, his
brief Army time, and the beginning of his career in television.
Suddenly the critics began taking him seriously. He followed
up in 1991 with Lost in Yonkers for which he won the Pulitzer
Prize for Drama.
During the course of his career, Simon has won three Tony
Awards for Best Play (The Odd Couple, Biloxi Blues and
Lost in Yonkers.) He has had more plays adapted to film
than any other American playwright and, in addition, has written
nearly a dozen original screenplays himself. He received Academy
Award nominations for his screenplays The Odd Couple (1968),
The Sunshine Boys (1975) and California Suite (1978).
He has also been the recipient of the Antoinette Perry Award,
the Writers Guild Award, the Evening Standard Award, the New
York Drama Critics Circle Award, the Shubert Award, the Outer
Circle Award, and a 1978 Golden Globe Award for his screenplay,
The Goodbye Girl.
- Search eBay! for Neil Simon collectibles