One of Broadway’s most prolific and popular playwrights and father of The Odd Couple, Neil Simon, has died at the age of 91.
Multi-award-winning writer died of complications from pneumonia at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, Broadway theatre representatives DKC/O&M said on Monday morning (AEST).
He was admitted to the hospital a few days ago and the pneumonia was in his lungs, longtime publicist and friend Bill Evans said.
Simon had more than 30 plays shown on Broadway, including The Odd Couple, Barefoot in the Park and The Sunshine Boys, and also wrote numerous films, some original and other adaptations of his theatre works.
He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1991 for his play Lost in Yonkers, and received four Oscar and 16 Tony nominations.
Simon also wrote original screenplays, the best known being The Goodbye Girl, starring Richard Dreyfuss as a struggling actor, and The Heartbreak Kid, which featured Charles Grodin as a recently married man, lusting to drop his new wife for a blonde goddess played by Cybill Shepherd.
Many of his plays were adapted into movies and one, The Odd Couple, became a popular TV series.
Simon’s former wife Marsha Mason posted a tribute to her ex-husband, saying he was “a great talent and man, husband and father”.
“He shall be sorely missed. With his passing, his work and plays live on and will be enjoyed by many generations to come. I miss him deeply and always,” Marsh said.
Big Bang Theory creator Bill Prady said there was “no American comedy writer whose work isn’t influenced by the rhythm and music of Neil Simon’s words”.
Star Wars star Mark Hamill called Simon a “GIANT of the American theatre”.
Simon was married five times, twice to the same woman. He is survived by his fourth wife, actress Elaine Joyce; two daughters, Ellen and Nancy; three grandchildren; and one great-grandson.