Simpsons producer and screenwriter Don Payne has passed away at his home in Los Angeles, friends have confirmed.
The 48-year-old, who had been battling bone cancer, was best known as an award-winning writer and producer of The Simpsons but also had screenwriting credits for 2011 blockbuster Thor, My Super Ex-Girlfriend, and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
News of his passing was first reported by former Simpsons writing partner John Frink.
Payne was showered with awards throughout his illustrious career, including four Emmys for his work on The Simpsons. His contribution to Fox’s classic animated series still hasn’t ended, with two episodes he wrote, “Labor Pains” and “White Christmas Blues,” due to air in the fall.
The Simpsons producer also scooped the Writers Guild of America’s Paul Selvin Award in 2005 for the “Fraudcast News” episode.
A stalwart of TV writing, his screenwriting debut took place in 2006 with My Super Ex-Girlfriend, a comedy about a bachelor who finds out his girlfriend has superhero powers.
Payne and Frink began collaborating in college, with Payne telling The Los Angeles Times in 2006, “I wanted to do films, he wanted to do television.”
The pair eventually decided to take whichever job came first and ended up co-writing for Hope & Gloria, The Brian Benben Show, and other sitcoms. In 1998, they landed a writing gig with The Simpsons, joining the producing team in 2000.
Payne is survived by his wife, Julie; and sons, Nathaniel and Joshua; and their daughter, Lila; his mother, Barbara Payne; a brother, John Payne; and a sister, Suzanne Fanning.