Neil Simon

Neil Simon

Playwright, Author


Biography


Neil Simon is a prolific playwright and screenwriter, best known for his classic Broadway comedies, The Odd Couple and Lost in Yonkers.

Simon was born in New York in 1927 and grew up in Manhattan. He spent much of his childhood in movie theaters, whiling away the time watching the period’s popular comedies. He enrolled in New York University after leaving school but soon signed up with the Army Air Force Reserve. While enlisted at a base in Colorado he took classes at the University of Denver and became the sports editors for the base’s newspaper.

In 1946, Simon was discharged from the army and returned to New York. He teamed up with his older brother Danny, and the pair began to write comedy sketches for the popular television and radio stars of the time. In the early 1950s, they were hired to write for television series, Your Show of Shows, alongside Woody Allen and Mel Brooks. After a few years, the brothers stopped writing together but Neil Simon continued to work within television.

Alongside his writing for the small screen, Simon began to experiment with writing for the stage. He and his brother wrote a short-lived musical, Catch a Star!, in 1955, but first solo play did not appear until Come Blow Your Horn in 1961. Simon’s next production, Barefoot in the Park (1963), sent his theater career to new heights and he followed this up with the immensely successful, The Odd Couple (1965), which won four Tony Awards including Best Author of a Play.

Simon went on to have a string of Broadway hits, including the musical Promises, Promises (1968), The Sunshine Boys (1972), Chapter Two (1977), and Brighton Beach Memoirs (1983). In 1991, Simon’s Lost in Yonkers was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, as well as the Tony Award for Best Play.

As well as writing for the stage, Simon turned his hand to writing for the big screen also. Come Blow Your Horn was turned into a 1963 movie starring Frank Sinatra and he went on to write original screenplays, including After the Fox (1966) and The Goodbye Girl (1977), for which he received an Academy Award nomination.

In 1968, Simon adapted The Odd Couple into a hugely popular, Oscar-winning movie of the same name, and the concept went on to become an acclaimed television series in the 1970s, also written by Simon. He also adapted several of his other plays for the big screen, including The Plaza Suite and The Sunshine Boys.

In 1975, Neil Simon was presented with a special Tony Award for his contributions to theater, and he is currently the only living playwright to have a Broadway theater named in his honor.


Shows by Neil Simon

Title
Synopsis

It is said that Neil Simon’s 45 Seconds from Broadway is Simon’s “Valentine to New York.” Set in the Polish Tea Room , characters wander in and out, sitting down, chatting with each other, building friendships, and giving gli... read more

Neil Simon's Barefoot in the Park is a romantic comedy focusing on a pair of newlyweds, Corie and Paul, as they begin married life in a tiny, 5th-floor walkup apartment in a Manhattan brownstone. Paul is a strait-laced attor... read more

Part of Neil Simon's Eugene trilogy, Biloxi Blues centers on the experiences of a young army recruit, Eugene Morris Jerome, during World War II. At basic training in Biloxi, Mississippi, Eugene is determined to use his army e... read more

Brighton Beach Memoirs is the first play in Neil Simon's semi-autobiographical comedic Eugene trilogy, which also includes and . The story of Brighton Beach Memoirs follows a 15-year-old boy named Eugene Jerome as he grows u... read more

Following and , this is the poignant and funny conclusion of Neil Simon's semi-autobiographical Eugene trilogy. Eugene and his brother Stanley are trying to break into the world of professional comedy writing, while coping... read more

George and Jennie are in love, utterly perfect for each other, and are getting married. There are just a few problems: 1) They’ve only been dating for two weeks. 2) George’s beloved wife of twelve years just passed away. 3) J... read more

What does it mean to “grow up?” When does it happen? And, does everyone have the same experience? Neil Simon’s semi-autobiographical play, Come Blow Your Horn examines all of these questions through the lens of the Baker Fami... read more

The Dinner Party is the 31st play by Neil Simon. The action revolves around a French dinner party that is hilariously chaotic. Six people, who do not know one another, have been invited to dine in a fancy Parisian restaurant.... read more

The Gingerbread Lady is a dark drama with comic overtones centering on Evy Meara, a cabaret singer whose career, marriage, and health all have been destroyed by alcohol. We meet her at the end of a ten week drying out period... read more

Successful businessman Joe Benjamin has admittedly had a wonderful life. He has a successful business selling boxes while living with his family in their beautiful Long Island mansion. Joe, being a devout religious man, attri... read more

A combination of Neil Simon and Chekhov, The Good Doctor, a comedy with music, is, by turns, charming, hilarious, sad, and touching. It centers around a writer, who speaks to the audience and shares his writing with them, th... read more

Neil Simon's Jake's Women is about a novelist named Jake, who is struggling to save his marriage. During the course of the play, Jake talks to many women about their own perspective on his relationship, in an attempt to gain... read more

Barney Cashman is forty-seven, happily married, the father of three children, a successful businessman, and a man going through a midlife crisis. Barney has come to the realization that his whole life can be summed up in one... read more

London Suite is a comedic play made up of four separate one acts, following four stories about relationships, all taking place a London hotel, overlooking Hyde Park. Among the stories is one about a woman whose gay ex-husban... read more

Lost in Yonkers is a coming-of-age story set in Yonkers, New York. Simon's Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning play centers around two brothers, Arty and Jay, who live with their grandmother and their mentally challenged Aunt B... read more

Neil Simon’s classic comedy opens as a group of the guys are in the midst of their weekly poker game in the apartment of divorced sportswriter, Oscar Madison. And if the mess is any indication, it's no wonder that his wife le... read more

Neil Simon’s revision of his hugely successful play, The Odd Couple, sees the lead characters transformed into Olive Madison and Florence Unger. Olive and their group of girlfriends are enjoying their weekly Trivial Pursuit n... read more

Edna and Mel are a struggling, middle-aged couple living in New York City. Mel has just lost his job, the walls of their apartment are much too thin, and the city is in the middle of a heat wave. Their troubles escalate when... read more

The musical follows a young, ambitious accountant for the New York insurance company named Chuck Baxter. Chuck climbs the ladder by allowing the firm's executives to his midtown apartment for extramarital love affairs. Troubl... read more

Proposals is a memory play that nostalgically recalls an afternoon the Hines family spends in the Pocono Mountains during the 1950s. The family's housekeeper, Clemma, narrates the story, which revolves around relationships a... read more

Rose's Dilemma, a story set in the Hamptons, is about a writer named Rose Steiner who suffers from writer's block. She needs to write a blockbuster -- she wants it to be brilliant, but she also needs the money. In the play, R... read more

In 1988, Neil Simon needed to cheer himself up. The solution was a farce in two acts, set in Palisades, that shows a dinner party gone topsy-turvy. An enjoyable romp that has been staged countless times all over the country,... read more

Set in San Francisco in the 1960s, the play is a story of a love triangle mixed with politics. Andy and Norman are radical liberals struggling to make a living working on their magazine, Fallout, which is dedicated to fightin... read more

The story follows the attempt by a young theatrical agent to re-unite his elderly uncle, a former vaudevillian great, with his long-time stage partner for a TV reunion. Despite their celebrated reputation, the two old men hav... read more

Sweet Charity follows the romantic trials and tribulations of Charity Hope Valentine, “a girl who wanted to be loved.” Charity is a taxi dancer, a dance partner-for-hire at a seedy dance hall in New York City. Though the job... read more

Nominated for Tony Awards in Best Musical and Best Book , this romantic comedy explores the ups and downs of the professional and personal relationship of songwriters Vernon and Sonia. After a series of trials and tribulation... read more

Overview

Nationality
American
Born
7/4/1927
Show Categories
Play, Musical
Genres
Drama, Comedy, Historical/Biographical, Romance, Dark Comedy, Farce

Clips