Broadway dims its lights in memory of playwright Neil Simon

The Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwright died on August 26, 2018, at the age of 91.

Neil Simon

In accordance with The Broadway League, the Broadway theatres will dim their marquee lights tonight in memory of Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwright Neil Simon.

Thomas Schumacher, Chairman of the Broadway League commented: "Neil Simon’s plays are a testament to the human experience: he made audiences laugh, cry and think. No other American playwright has had as many performances or as many shows in production simultaneously on Broadway. The outpouring of accolades and personal memories being shared since his death are a tribute to how deeply he influenced our culture and touched the lives of literally millions of theatregoers. His legacy will continue for years to come, and the Broadway industry is proud to dim the lights of our theatres in his honor.”

Mr. Simon was born in The Bronx, New York, on July 4, 1927 and passed away on August 26, 2018, at the age of 91. The lights will be dimmed at exactly 6:45pm ET tonight for one minute.

Best known for his work as a playwright, Neil Simon's résumé also included work as a librettist, lyricist, producer and theatre owner/operator. His illustrious career saw an astonishing total of 17 Tony Award nominations, winning the coveted trophy three times: for The Odd Couple in 1965, for Biloxi Blues in 1985, and finally for Lost in Yonkers in 1991, which also went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. In 1975, he was also honored with a special Tony Award for his contributions to the theatre.

Some of his other most notable works to have been produced on Broadway include Brighton Beach Memoirs (1983; revived in 2009), Broadway Bound (1986), Sweet Charity (1966; revived in 1986 and 2005), Promises, Promises (1968; revived in 2010)The Sunshine Boys (1972; revived in 1997), Little Me (1961; revived in 1982 and1998), They're Playing Our Song (1979), Barefoot in the Park (1963; revived in 2006), Plaza Suite (1968), Last of the Red-Hot Lovers (1969), The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1971), The Good Doctor (1973), and Chapter Two (1977), among many others.

On screen, Mr. Simon has over 25 feature films to his name and earned Academy Award nominations for his adapted screenplays of "California Suite" (in 1979), "The Sunshine Boys" (in 1976), and "The Odd Couple" (in 1969), and for his original screenplay of "The Goodbye Girl" (in 1978). He also won a Golden Globe for "The Goodbye Girl" and earned Golden Globe nominations for "The Sunshine Boys" and "The Heartbreak Kid" (in 1973).

On June 29, 1983, whilst the Broadway premiere of Brighton Beach Memoirs was entertaining audiences at the 46th Street Theatre (now known as the Richard Rodgers Theatre), Broadway’s Alvin Theatre on West 52nd Street was officially rechristened the Neil Simon Theatre in his honor, thanks to prominent Broadway producer and theater owner, James M. Nederlander.

Mr. Simon is survived by his wife, Elaine; his children Ellen, Nancy, and Bryn; three grandchildren and one great-grandson.

(Photo by Jonathan Exley)