August 26, 2018 / 5:56 PM / a month ago

Facts about U.S. playwright Neil Simon

(Reuters) - U.S. playwright Neil Simon, who reigned on Broadway through five decades and made an impact on Hollywood as well, died on Sunday at the age of 91, his representatives said.

Here are some of Simon’s best known works.

* “Come Blow Your Horn,” 1961: a young man learns about romance after moving in with his suave older brother. It had similarities with Simon’s relationship with his own mentor-brother and was his way of striking out on his own. Frank Sinatra and Lee J. Cobb starred in the film version.

* “Barefoot in the Park,” 1963: the early stage of a marriage of a free-spirited woman and an up-tight lawyer. Robert Redford starred with Elizabeth Ashley on stage and with Jane Fonda on screen.

* “The Odd Couple,” 1965: a coarse slob of a sportswriter and a neatnik television news writer learn to co-exist while in the throes of divorcing their wives. The play, which won Simon his first Tony, was based on Danny Simon’s experiences after the breakup of his marriage. Walter Matthau and Art Carney played the leads when it opened on Broadway and Matthau teamed with Jack Lemmon in the 1968 movie.

“The Odd Couple” had a five-year run as a sitcom starting in 1970 with Jack Klugman and Tony Randall starring. Simon revised the play for Rita Moreno and Sally Struthers in 1985 and it had a brief revival on television in the 1980s.

* “Plaza Suite,” 1960: three separate stories about relationships, all set in Suite 719 of New York’s Plaza Hotel. It was also made into a film.

* “The Prisoner of Second Avenue,” 1971: story of a rocky marriage, stress and a nervous breakdown that was described by the New York Times as “handsome proof that humour and honesty can be got into bed together.” The production starred Peter Falk and Lee Grant while Lemmon and Anne Bancroft were in the movie adaptation.

* “The Sunshine Boys,” 1972: two cranky old Vaudeville performers reunite despite hating each other. It generated a film with Matthau and George Burns.

* “Chapter Two,” 1975: a cathartic capsulization of Simon’s feelings for his first wife, Joan, who died of cancer in 1973, and his new wife, Marsha Mason, who starred in the “Chapter Two” movie.

* The Eugene Trilogy: “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” 1983; “Biloxi Blues,” 1985; and “Broadway Bound,” 1986: semi-autobiographical trilogy following Eugene Jerome, which brought Simon much critical acclaim. In “Brighton Beach Memoirs” Matthew Broderick portrays young Jerome searching for an identity. “Biloxi Blues,” which won the best play Tony and again starred Broderick, was about Eugene losing his virginity and learning to deal with different kinds of people in the Army. “Broadway Bound” examines the up-and-down relationships Eugene, played this time by Jonathan Silverman, had with his parents and brother.

The Simon-like character was portrayed by Silverman in “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” Broderick in “Biloxi Blues” and Corey Parker in the TV movie “Broadway Bound.”

* “Lost in Yonkers,” 1991: a deep tale of a broken family that also borrowed from Simon’s childhood and earned him a Pulitzer Prize as well as a Tony for best play.

* “The Goodbye Girl,” 1993: written first by Simon as a 1977 movie starring Mason and Richard Dreyfuss, who won an Oscar for it. The musical version had a five-month run on Broadway with Bernadette Peters and Martin Short.

* “Laughter on the 23rd Floor,” 1993: based on Simon and Danny’s experiences working as writers for Sid Caesar’s television show in the 1950s. Nathan Lane and Mark Linn-Baker starred both on stage and in the television movie version.

Compiled by Bill Trott; Editing by Paul Simao

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