The death of Neil Simon has fans remembering his most iconic plays and movies—as well as one that never came to fruition. For years there was buzz about a sequel to The Goodbye Girl, the 1977 romantic comedy that made a superstar out of Richard Dreyfuss, who was just 29 at the time. Now, fans are finding out that Simon did pen a script to a sequel the hit film, with a working title of Mr. Famous.
Neil Simon’s The Goodbye Girl, which also starred Marsha Mason, Paul Benedict, and child star Quinn Cummings, was a blockbuster, becoming the first romantic comedy film to earn $100 million at the box office. Dreyfuss won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance as struggling young actor Elliott Garfield in the film, while Cummings, then just 10-years-old, was nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category for her role as precocious kid Lucy McFadden. The hit film was also nominated for Best Picture and Best Screenplay, and Mason also earned a Best Actress nod, per IMDB.
But 40 years after The Goodbye Girl made headlines, Simon’s death has fans wondering what became of the sequel. Quinn Cummings took to social media to remember Simon and that “lost” script, posting an Instagram of a typed and coffee stained script for Mr. Famous (The Goodbye Girl Part Two).
Cummings also posted to Twitter to share what she remembered about the sequel that never came to be, as well as what she plans to do with her rare copy of Simon’s script.
“A couple of years after Goodbye Girl came out, Richard, Marsha, Herb Ross, Neil Simon, a few others and I sat in the living room of producer Ray Stark’s house and did a reading of a first draft of a sequel…. For multiple reasons, the movie didn’t go forward, but I kept the script. I continued to keep it, through adolescence, through moves, through my life. The two times I had to evacuate because of fires, it sat on top of my luggage. I kept it not because I’m sentimental… but because I understood this script was important. It was something virtually no one had heard and no one had seen.”
Cummings went on to reveal that there were, at most, 20 copies of the script that existed. While she said she would love to get the script into the hands of whatever university ultimately gets Simon’s work, Cummings plans to auction the rare piece of Neil Simon memorabilia to raise money for Raices Texas and a local animal charity.
“Not everyone had left with their script. Certainly not everyone kept theirs. My copy, coffee cup mark on the top and all, was just mine to take care of for posterity. I just found it. I thought about that night. I thanked Neil Simon for the life he helped give me. And as of tomorrow, I am going to put it up for auction on EBay. I will split whatever I make with @RAICES and the local animal charity I support. Neil Simon was a kind man. I hope this would please him.”
When asked by fans why The Goodbye Girl sequel was never made, Cummings admitted she didn’t know the whole story.
“I was a kid so I missed the nuances but from what I heard it was at least in part a matter of timing (@RichardDreyfuss was very busy as was Neil),” Cummings tweeted.
In a 1978 interview with Rolling Stone, Dreyfuss talked about The Goodbye Girl sequel and why he planned to do it.
“That is not a departure, obviously,” Dreyfuss said of the role. “I’ve already played that character before. The visceral reason I’m doing it is because it was such an incredibly wonderful experience that I want to do it again.”
“The Goodbye Girl was this actor who ends the movie not only getting the girl but going on to a successful career,” Dreyfuss said. “The sequel was the story of that career and the problems attached thereto. And when we would read the script every couple of years, Neil Simon, myself and Marsha, we would wonder why it didn’t work. The reason it didn’t work is that no one gives a damn about the problems of a movie star. A movie star is someone to admire and maybe live my life for me.”
You can see the original trailer for Neil Simon’s The Goodbye Girl below.