The entertainment world has lost another legend. Neil Simon, the prolific playwright behind the stage and movie masterpieces Barefoot in the Park, The Odd Couple, Plaza Suite, The Sunshine Boys, The Goodbye Girl, Biloxi Blues and much more has died at age 91. Simon passed away in Manhattan from complications of pneumonia, according to The New York Times. Simon leaves behind his wife of 19 years, Elaine Joyce, and three daughters.
Reaction to the death of the Golden Globe, Tony Award, and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright was swift as fans from Broadway, Hollywood, and all over the world mourned the passing of Neil Simon.
As The Inquisitr previously reported, Simon’s second wife, actress Marsha Mason, was one of the first to issue a statement on his passing. Mason, who starred in the film version of Simon’s play The Goodbye Girl in 1977, described her former husband as “a great talent and man husband and father” who will be missed “deeply and always.”
Songwriter Carole Bayer Sager, who teamed up with Simon and Marvin Hamlisch to write the lyrics for the 1978 stage musical They’re Playing Our Song, took to Twitter to pay tribute to her late friend.
“I love you Neil Simon, your greatness was known to the world, working beside you was joyful. No one made me laugh more…. You touched America with your brilliant plays and it was an honor for me to be your friend. God Bless.”
Other stars, including former child star Quinn Cummings, who played Mason’s daughter Lucy in The Goodbye Girl, and Henry Winkler, one of the original stars of Simon’s 2000 play The Dinner Party, also remembered Simon as a mentor and a friend.
You can see more reaction from celebrities on the death of Neil Simon below.
— Variety (@Variety) August 26, 2018
When someone commends me on having been a funny kid, I always say "That was the writer." No one ever looks funnier than when Neil Simon's words are coming out of their mouths.
A kind, brilliant man has left us today. May his memory be a blessing to his loved ones. https://t.co/hxPvqeRC4z
— Quinn Cummings (@quinncy) August 26, 2018
We lost a giant .. one of the most prolific playwright s in history . THANK YOU Neil for a life changing experience.
REST IN PEACE in your brilliance #neilsimon
— Henry Winkler (@hwinkler4real) August 26, 2018
Oh beloved Neil Simon. RIP great one. 🙁
— Kristin Chenoweth (@KChenoweth) August 26, 2018
To say that #NeilSimon was one of the primary influences on my life and career would be an understatement. His work, as both a participant and audience, has defined and shaped me on my own journies and carr@eer trajectory. RIP to another lost legend.
— Josh Gad (@joshgad) August 26, 2018
You can't overstate the depth of #NeilSimon's contributions: to theater, to film, to comedy, to NYC, and to every kid in the last 50 years who wanted to be funny. But, like "Neil Simon funny." (Which, like "Africa hot" is beyond what you think is possible.) RIP Neil.
— Paul Reiser (@PaulReiser) August 26, 2018
I was blessed to have worked with the great Neil Simon. His work, even at worst, was a joy to behold. He made the world laugh for decades. He touched us. He enlightened us. He employed so many of us. I’m so grateful to have known him. Make God laugh, Doc. #NeilSimon
— jason alexander (@IJasonAlexander) August 26, 2018
Neil Simon the true Sunshine Boy. Happy I got to have fun with him. Peace
— Danny DeVito (@DannyDeVito) August 26, 2018
Other movie and TV writers paid tribute to Neil Simon, including Big Bang Theory creator Bill Prady, who tweeted, “There is no American comedy writer whose work isn’t influenced by the rhythm and music of Neil Simon’s words.”
Mrs. Doubtfire screenwriter Randi Mayem Singer also noted Simon’s influence all comedy writers, posting to Twitter.
“If you write comedy, if you write period, you learned something from Neil Simon. A truly great American storyteller. RIP,” he wrote.
Playwright and Broadway star Harvey Fierstein also paid tribute to Simon, tweeting, “Neil Simon – gone! A loss 4 the entire entertainment industry. He could write a joke that would make you laugh, define the character, the situation, and even the world’s problems.”
You can see Jane Fonda and Robert Redford in the trailer for the film version of Neil Simon’s Breakout play, Barefoot in the Park, below.