Broadway playwright Neil Simon dies at 91

Neil Simon with Goldie Hawn during the filming of

The victor of a Pulitzer and four Tony Awards, Simon wrote two memoirs and became a Kennedy Centre Honoree in 1995.

He also starred with Nathan Lane in a revival of Simon's classic comedy, "The Odd Couple", that was one of the biggest hits of the 2005-2006 Broadway season.

The brains behind more than 30 plays, 20 screenplays and 5 musicals, Time magazine dubbed him the "patron saint of laughter". The cause was complications from pneumonia....

Neil Simon was one of the world's most successful playwrights. "There is no American comedy writer whose work isn't influenced by the rhythm and music of Neil Simon's words", he wrote. He won three regular Tonys, plus one for special achievement, as well as a Pulitzer and the Mark Twain prize for humour.

"Come Blow Your Horn" (1961) marked Simon's move to the stage from television sketch writing.

"Neil has the ability to write characters, even the leading characters that we're supposed to root for, that are absolutely flawed". But, they are human beings. "At a time when I was struggling with my background and identity, Neil Simon showed me that you could take the pain of your own life and make great comedy", writer Bryan Behar said on Twitter. There, he worked for the Army newspaper as a sports editor.

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Simon drew on his tumultuous New York Jewish upbringing in many of his works. Simon was mostly raised by his mom and was mentored by his older brother Danny. It was followed by "Barefoot in the Park" in 1963, which ran for more than 1,500 performances. The film was directed by Bud Yorkin. Redford also appeared in the 1967 hit movie version opposite Jane Fonda.

Simon cemented that success two years later with The Odd Couple, a comedy about bickering roommates: Oscar, a gruff, slovenly sportswriter, and Felix, a neat, fussy photographer.

- Tony Award-winning actor and playwright Harvey Fierstein, via Twitter. It was revived again as a TV series from 2015-17, starring Matthew Perry.

Neil Simon didn't just adapt his stage plays for the screen. In other cases, the movie came first, as when he adapted his 1977 film, "The Goodbye Girl", into a 1993 play.

In all, he wrote 47 plays and productions, including "Barefoot in the Park" and "Promises, Promises", "Sweet Charity", "Biloxi Blues" and "The Sunshine Boys".

West Wing and Scandal actor Josh Malina said he "grew up going to his plays in NYC". At the end of his life, he was married to his fourth wife, Elaine Joyce, an actress to whom he was married in 1999.

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