Neil Simon

As one of North America?s leading playwrights, Neil Simon has definitely been instrumental to the world of theater. He has experienced a somewhat shaky personal life, but he has found that this only adds to the texture of his work. He began his career working on radio and television, and found that writing for stage was significantly different than his previous experiences writing. His first attempts at theater were rough, but it didn?t take him long to achieve excellence. He has also achieved great success with his work in the film industry. He is very fastidious when writing his work, and also quite critical of both the final written product, as well as its resulting production. However, no matter how uncertain he is of his work, it is apparent that audiences worldwide appreciate his writings, and he has been awarded numerous times to prove it. It is quite clear Neil Simon holds a place of importance in the world of dramatic arts.
Born and raised in the Bronx NYC, Marvin Neil Simon was the second son of a traveling salesman. His mother Mamie, was largely responsible for the upbringing of the children due to this circumstance. His childhood household was quite unstable due to the absence of his father, and he has not truly escaped from this lifestyle. At age 28, he married Joan Baim, a professional dancer, and the first of three wives. The two had a daughter, Ellen, together. Seemingly happy for 20 years in marriage, Joan died unexpectedly. Shockingly, just over one month after Joan?s death, Neil remarried, causing doubt about the healthiness of the relationship before Joan?s demise. He wed actress Marsha Mason, who later appeared in a number of his works, including film versions of Only When I Laugh and The Goodbye Girl. The marriage lasted 9 years, and ended bitterly due to "undisclosed reasons". Five years after his divorce from Ms Mason, he coupled with Diane Landers, also an actress. He had a second daughter, Nancy, with the actress, as well as adopting a third daughter, Bryn. The two divorced just 2 years after the wedding. However, shortly after that, the couple remarried, and are living together currently as man and wife. His other relationships have been touchy as well. A bond with his brother was broken upon Neil?s sudden decision to end his television writing career and move on to script writing. Neil tries to take these energies, both positive and negative, and fuse them into the characters in his plays, and does so with great success. He is often praised for his outlook of life. His plays are somewhat autobiographical according to Simon. He humorously dramatizes his serious basic beliefs in his plays, as with most comedy writers. However, he suggests, through his writings that the answer is not to ostracize oneself, as in many comedies, but to remain in the social network, and make an attempt to reform, not revolutionize society. To represent the social network, Simon utilizes the family unit. He believes if one can operate effectively in the circuitry of family life, that life in society should come easily. He is one of the few comedic writers that aims to send a realistic message with his work.
Beginning his career writing scripts for local TV and radio stations with his brother, Neil slowly, but surely achieved success. The two gradually progressed into writing sketches for the likes of Phil Shivers, Gary Moore and Jerry Lewis. The television work began to receive wide acclaim, and it was then, with encouragement from his current wife, Joan, Neil broke off his partnership with his brother to begin writing plays for the New York theater scene. His first play, titled Come Blow Your Horn, took over 3 years and more than 20 complete rewrites to perfect. Looking back at it now Neil says "My first work, under today's microscope with all its advanced technology, is like looking at a yellowed and faded photograph of ourselves in a tattered family album and saying, "My God, did I really look like that when I was a kid?" Although he is proud of his work, he sees it as a definite amateur piece, and is often quite critical of it. It was, however, the piece that made him fall in love with the theater and, he says, the theater fall in love with him. The next of