Passing Of Neil Simon, Bronx Icon of plays and Screen

By Rich Mancuso

The entertainment world and Bronx was sad to hear this morning about the passing of  Neil Simon the Pulitzer and Tony Award writer and most known for the “Odd Couple”, “Barefoot In The Park” and “Lost In Yonkers.” A Bronx legend and always one that remembered where he came from.

The DeWitt Clinton HIgh School graduate, a school at the end of the Grand Concourse also known as “The Castle” because of distinguished alumni in all walks of life, was a proud alumnus who was instrumental in  staging more than 30 plays and musicals on Broadway in four decades.

“I see the potential in so many here in the Bronx,” Simon said when he was awarded by the DeWitt Clinton Alumni Association. He was one of the many at the time that graduated at the age of 16. And from Clinton it was either NYU or City College of New York. He chose NYU  and from there the rest is history.

Simon in 1983  was the only living playwright who had a theater named after him on Broadway, “The Neil Simon Theater.”

But his “Odd Couple” play, later an Emmy award winning television series, was Neil Simon and the creativity that consumed the entertainment world for years and still seen in syndication.

He was 91 years of age and passed away Monday morning in New York City with complications from pneumonia.


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