Sam Simon had been sick with terminal cancer for some time, and the NYT is reporting that the legendary writer/producer passed away today.
“’If you leave out Sam Simon, you’re telling the managed version,” Jon Vitti, one of the show’s first writers, told The New York Times in 2001. “He was the guy we wrote for.”
Jay Kogen, a former producer of “The Simpsons,” told The Times that Mr. Simon “knew the freedom that animation provides and utilized it to the full extent.” You can read the entire obituary here.
The AV Club also has a look at Simon’s life, and since they dedicate so much time to covering his most well known work, maybe you should start with them [link] where we’re sure an unofficial celebration/roast will happen in the comment section.
If you’re a fan of The Simpsons early seasons (and how could you not be) I advise you to look into Simon’s other work. Taxi and Cheers, despite having the “stigma” of sitcom attached to them often produced some of the most sensitive and funny moments in television history. Simon had an ability to marry the poignant with the absurd. Aside from The Simpsons and Taxi, It’s Garry Shandling’s Show might be his most daring work in the way it applied dream logic and magical realism to turn the tv comedy formula inside out.
In addition to his creative accomplishments, Simon was also a philanthropist who gave away most of his money, and also advocated for veganism. For more about his outlook on life and death, we recommended listening is this interview he gave the Marc Maron’s WTF podcast, conducted well after he’d been diagnosed with cancer: