Matthew Broderick has had a long and illustrious career on the big screen and on stage, but he says that he gives much of the credit to playwright Neil Simon who died today at the age of 91. Broderick made his Broadway premiere in the Neil Simon play Brighton Beach Memoirs, and made his big screen debut in Simon’s movie, Max Dugan Returns.
PageSix quoted Broderick who gave praise to Simon for so many contributions in his life and in his career.
“[In losing Neil Simon, I’ve] lost a mentor, a father figure, a deep influence in my life and work.”
He added that the theater world has lost “a brilliantly funny, unthinkably wonderful writer.”
Broderick continued, saying that he owes Simon so much, including his personal and professional success.
“I owe him a career.”
The Chicago Tribune said that Neil Simon died today from complications of pneumonia and that he was surrounded by his family when he passed. But Simon was beloved by actors, fans, and even other writers.
When asked what his favorite thing to do in show business was, Simon said writing.
“I am most alive and most fulfilled sitting alone in a room, hoping that those words forming on the paper in the Smith-Corona will be the first perfect play ever written in a single draft.”
Simon always said he liked to tell the stories of a family because a family represented all of the bigger pictures.
“I don’t write social and political plays, because I’ve always thought the family was the microcosm of what goes on in the world.”
Neil Simon was known to have launched many careers including that of Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, and did great things for Robert Redford, Elizabeth Ashley, and even Mary Tyler Moore.
Simon explained that he would write and write, always in search of “the perfect play.”
“I suspect I shall keep on writing in a vain search for that perfect play. I hope I will keep my equilibrium and sense of humor when I’m told I haven’t achieved it. At any rate, the trip has been wonderful. As George and Ira Gershwin said, ‘They Can’t Take That Away From Me.'”
The Chicago Tribune says that Neil Simon, who was married many times, is survived by several wives, children, grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
“The playwright was married to his third wife, Diane Lander, twice — once in 1987-1988 and again in 1990-1998. Simon adopted Lander’s daughter, Bryn, from a previous marriage. Simon married his fourth wife, actress Elaine Joyce, in 1999. He also survived by three grandchildren; and one great-grandson.”