A legend of American theatre, he was responsible for such works as The Odd Couple, The Sunshine Boys, Barefoot in the Park and Lost in Yonkers. He snagged 17 Tony nominations, and won three.
In 1983 he gained the rare accolade of having a NY stage, the Neil Simon Theatre, named in his honour.
Oscar victor Jane Fonda has paid tribute to acclaimed playwright Neil Simon, describing him as one of America's great writers.
Journalist Lawrence Grobel asserted that Simon "towers like a Colossus over the American theater".
"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 flawless play ever written in a single draft", Simon wrote in the introduction to one of the many anthologies of his plays. Simon spoke later of the enormous influence these jobs had on his career, particularly the opportunity to work with some of the day's finest comedy writers: "I knew when I walked into 'Your Show of Shows, ' that this was the most talented group of writers that up until that time had ever been assembled together". "With gratitude, Doc", wrote Bill Prady, television writer and producer of shows like "The Big Bang Theory". Like Brighton Beach, it starred Matthew Broderick as Eugene, Simon's alter ego.
Simon served in the military and then worked with his older brother Danny on producing jokes for television and radio scripts. "The Odd Couple", for example, spawned the hit movie starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau and later the long-running 1970s sitcom, with Jack Klugman and Tony Randall.
"In 1991 his play Lost in Yonkers, another serio-comedy, brought him his highest accolade - a Pulitzer Prize for drama - as well as a third Tony award". He also succeeded with musicals, collaborating on Little Me, Sweet Charity, Promises, Promises, and They're Playing Our Song.
Simon straddled those not-always-compatible disciplines with an ease that eluded many other playwrights. Simon married five times - twice to the same woman - and leaves a wife, actress Elaine Joyce and daughters, Ellen, Nancy and Bryn. The turnaround began with Brighton Beach Memoirs in 1983.
Mason appeared in his stage comedy "The Good Doctor" and who went on to star in several films written by Simon, including "The Goodbye Girl", "The Cheap Detective", "Chapter Two", "Only When I Laugh" and "Max Dugan Returns".