U.S. playwright Neil Simon, who became one of Broadway’s most prolific and popular playwrights as he combined humor, drama and introspection in works such as “The Odd Couple,” “The Goodbye Girl” and “Lost in Yonkers,” died on Sunday at the age of 91, his representatives said.
Simon died at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City of complications from pneumonia, Broadway theater representatives DKC/O&M said in a statement on Sunday. Simon was admitted to the hospital a few days ago and the pneumonia was in his lungs, Simon’s longtime publicist Bill Evans said in a Sunday phone interview. Evans said he gave Simon a kidney in 2004.
“It was wonderful to be in his life and for him to be in my life,” Evans said, calling Simon a major figure in American culture. “It has been so great to be part of all of it.”
Simon drew on his tumultuous New York Jewish upbringing in many of his works.
A new Simon play almost every theatrical season was a Broadway staple from 1960 through the mid-1990s, placing him in the ranks of America’s top playwrights. He wrote more than 40 plays that were funny, moving and immensely popular – sometimes shifting from slapstick to melodrama with the turn of a phrase.
At one point he had a record four plays running simultaneously on Broadway.