Neil Simon

February 13, 2009 by: admin

Neil SimonBiography

Neil Simon (born 1927) is undoubtedly the most commercially successful playwright of all time. Thirty of his plays have been performed on Broadway and they have been translated into dozens of languages. He is the only playwright ever to have had four Broadway productions running at the same time and more of his plays have been adapted to film than those of any other American playwright.


After leaving New York University, he wrote comic sketches for nightclubs and revues, including the two Broadway shows, Catch a Star (1955) and New Faces of 1956. After a spell as a staff writer for the comedian Sid Caesar, he was engaged to write for Phil Silvers’ military sitcom You’ll Never Get Rich. All this provided him with an excellent grounding in using his characters and their situations to create genuine theatrical comedies.

With his first full-length play, Come Blow Your Horn (1961), he began what has become the longest run of hits in American theatre history. During his long writing career, he has been awarded Tony Awards for Best Play three times: in 1965, for The Odd Couple; in 1985, for Boloxi Blues; and, in 1991, for Lost in Yonkers, for which he was also awarded the 1991 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. These and many of his other plays have had impressively long runs, including Barefoot in the Park (1963-7: 1,530 performances) and Plaza Suite (1968-70: 1,097 performances).


In addition to his plays, he has written the book for a number of successful musicals, as well as the screenplays of several of his plays, plus nearly a dozen original ones. He received Academy Award nominations for his screenplays for The Odd Couple (1968), The Sunshine Boys (1975), and California Suite (1978).

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