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Monday, August 27, 2018

Remembering Neil Simon and His Plays and Films



During his long career, playwright and screenwriter Neil Simon, who died Sunday at age 91, received four Tony Awards (including one for his overall contribution to the theatre), a Golden Globe Award, the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Kennedy Center Honors (in 1995). And in 1983, he became the only living playwright to have a New York theatre named after him.

Simon was married five times - to dancer Joan Baim (1953–1973), actress Marsha Mason (1973–1983), twice to actress Diane Lander (1987–1988, 1990–1998) and actress Elaine Joyce (1999-2018).

Below I've selected some videos to celebrate his life and career.

In a 1997 interview, Simon discussed his first play, Come Blow Your Horn, which opened on Broadway on February 22, 1961, and ran for 677 performances.



Simon received two 1963 Tony Award nominations for Best Musical and Best Author of a Musical for Little Me, which was revived in 1982 and in 1998 (with Martin Short and Faith Prince).




Simon received a 1964 Tony Award nomination for Best Play for Barefoot in the Park, which was made into a 1967 film starring Jane Fonda, Robert Redford and Mildred Natwick. HBO later filmed a 1981 Seattle stage production starring Richard Thomas, Bess Armstrong and Barbara Barrie.




In 1965, Simon won his first Tony Award for Best Author of a Play for The Odd Couple, which was made into a 1968 film starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. He also received his first Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.



Simon received a 1966 Tony Award nomination for Best Musical for Sweet Charity (starring Gwen Verdon). It was made into a 1969 film starring Shirley MacLaine.




Simon was a guest on The Merv Griffin Show on January 12, 1967.



Simon received a 1968 Tony Award nomination for Best Play for Plaza Suite, which was made into a 1971 film starring Walter Matthau, Maureen Stapleton, Barbara Harris and Lee Grant.



Simon received a 1969 Tony Award nomination for Best Musical for Promises, Promises (starring Jerry Orbach).



Simon received a 1970 Tony Award nomination for Best Play for Last of the Red Hot Lovers, which was made into a 1972 film starring Alan Arkin, Sally Kellerman, Paula Prentiss and Renée Taylor.



Simon wrote the screenplay for the 1970 film, The Out-of-Towners, starring Jack Lemmon and Sandy Dennis.



Simon received a 1972 Tony Award nomination for Best Play for The Prisoner of Second Avenue, which was made into a 1975 film starring Jack Lemmon and Anne Bancroft.



Simon received his first Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Screenplay for the 1972 film, The Heartbreak Kid, starring Charles Grodin and Cybill Shepherd.



Simon received a 1973 Tony Award nomination for Best Play for The Sunshine Boys, which was made into a 1975 film starring Walter Matthau and George Burns. He also received his second Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay.



Simon wrote the screenplay for the 1976 film, Murder by Death, starring Eileen Brennan, Truman Capote, James Coco, Peter Falk, David Niven, Peter Sellers, Maggie Smith and Nancy Walker.



Simon won his first and only Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay for the 1977 film, The Goodbye Girl, starring Richard Dreyfuss and Marsha Mason. He also received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay.



Simon received a 1978 Tony Award nomination for Best Play for Chapter Two, which was made into a 1979 film starring James Caan, Marsha Mason and Valerie Harper.



Simon wrote the screenplay for the 1978 film, The Cheap Detective, starring Peter Falk, Madeline Kahn, Louise Fletcher, Ann-Margret, Eileen Brennan, Stockard Channing and Marsha Mason.



Simon received his fourth and final Academy Award nomination for his screenplay for the 1978 film, California Suite, which he adapted from his 1976 play.



Simon received a 1979 Tony Award nomination for Best Book of a Musical for They're Playing Our Song (starring Robert Klein and Lucie Arnaz).



On June 26, 1980, Simon was a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, and he discussed his new play, The Curse of Kulyenchikov (which was later renamed Fools and ran for 40 performances on Broadway in 1981).



Simon wrote the screenplay for the 1980 film, Seems Like Old Times, starring Chevy Chase, Goldie Hawn and Charles Grodin.



Simon adapted his 1970 play, The Gingerbread Lady, for the 1981 feature film, Only When I Laugh, starring Marsha Mason, Kristy McNichol, James Coco and Joan Hackett.



Simon adapted his 1980 play, I Ought to Be in Pictures, for a 1982 feature film starring Walter Matthau, Ann-Margret and Dinah Manoff.



In 1982, Simon and his wife, actress Marsha Mason, were interviewed by Mike Douglas on CNN's People Now, and they discussed her 1983 film, Max Dugan Returns (for which Simon wrote the screenplay).




In 1985, Simon won his third Tony Award for Best Play for Biloxi Blues, which was made into a 1988 film starring Matthew Broderick and Christopher Walken.



Simon wrote the screenplay for the 1985 film, The Slugger's Wife, starring Michael O'Keefe and Rebecca De Mornay.



Simon adapted his 1983 play, Brighton Beach Memoirs, for a 1986 feature film starring Jonathan Silverman, Blythe Danner and Judith Ivey.



Simon received a 1987 Tony Award nomination for Best Play for Broadway Bound (starring Linda Lavin and Jonathan Silverman). He received a 1992 Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Writing in a Miniseries or a Special for an ABC movie adaptation starring Corey Parker, Jonathan Silverman, Anne Bancroft, Hume Cronyn, Jerry Orbach and Michele Lee.




In 1991, Simon won his fourth and final Tony Award - as well as the Pulitzer Prize for Drama - for Lost in Yonkers, which was made into a 1993 film starring Richard Dreyfuss, Mercedes Ruehl and Irene Worth.




Simon wrote the screenplay for the 1991 film, The Marrying Man, starring Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger.



Simon adapted his 1977 screenplay of The Goodbye Girl for the 1993 Broadway musical starring Bernadette Peters and Martin Short.



Simon adapted his 1992 play, Jake's Women, for a 1996 CBS movie starring Alan Alda, Anne Archer, Julie Kavner and Mira Sorvino.



In a December 1996 Theater Talk interview, Simon discussed his 1996 autobiography, Rewrites: A Memoir, his 1995 Off-Broadway play, London Suite, and his 1997 Broadway play, Proposals.



Simon wrote his final screenplay for The Odd Couple II, a 1998 sequel to the 1968 film that reunited Jack Lemmon (as Felix) and Walter Matthau (as Oscar).

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