Neil Simon (born July 4, 1927) is an American playwright and screenwriter. His numerous Broadway successes have caused his work to be amongst the most regularly performed in the world.
Simon was born Marvin Neil Simon on July 4, 1927 in The Bronx, New York City to Irving Simon, a garment salesman, and his wife Mamie. He was their second son and he grew up in Washington Heights, Manhattan during the Great Depression. His father often abandoned the family, causing financial and emotional difficulties. He attended DeWitt Clinton High School and graduated at the age of sixteen.
He attended New York University briefly from 1944 to 1945, where he was enlisted in the Army Air Force Reserve training program. He was assigned to Lowry Air Force Base during 1945 and attended the University of Denver from 1945 to 1946. He was a sports editor for the military magazine Rev-Meter.
During 1946, he was discharged as a corporal. Two years later, he quit his job as a mailroom clerk in the Warner Brothers offices in Manhattan to write radio and television scripts with his brother Danny Simon, including tutelage by radio humourist Goodman Ace when Ace ran a short-lived writing workshop for CBS. They wrote for the radio series The Robert Q. Lewis Show and for the television series The Phil Silvers Show.
Their revues for Camp Tamiment in Pennsylvania during the early 1950s were noticed by Sid Caesar, who hired the duo for his popular television comedy series Your Show of Shows. Simon later incorporated some of their experiences into his play Laughter on the 23rd Floor (1993). His work won him two Emmy Award nominations and the appreciation of Phil Silvers, who hired him to write for Sergeant Bilko during 1959.
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