Over the course of a prolific career that included more than 30 plays - including hits "The Odd Couple" and "Barefoot in the Park" - and multiple accolades, Simon drew on the sometimes-unexpected comedy lurking in the lives of middle-class Americans, inspiring laughs of recognition from vast audiences. TMZ, which broke the news of Simon's death, reported that he passed away at 1 a.m. on August 26, 2018.
Simon's other honors include membership in the American Theatre Hall of Fame, the New York State Governor's Award, the Kennedy Center Honors and the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
Besides Sweet Charity (1966) and Promises, Promises (1968), Simon wrote the books for several other musicals. Simon spoke later of the enormous influence these jobs had on his career, particularly the opportunity to work with some of the day's finest comedy writers: "I knew when I walked into 'Your Show of Shows, ' that this was the most talented group of writers that up until that time had ever been assembled together".
Simon found absurdity in the everyday, examining the anxieties of middle-class life in America with comedies about mismatched duos, family quirks and daily dramas.
According to reports, there will be a memorial service for Simon at some point on Thursday in New York City. He wrote his first Broadway play in 1961 with Come Blow Your Horn.
Many of Simon's plays were adapted for movies and TV. There's a Broadway theater named for him; he was the only living person to have received such recognition.
"My mother and father were gone when I wrote it, so I did tell about the fights and what it was like for me as a kid hearing them".
After attending New York University and the University of Denver and serving in the US Air Force Reserve, Simon and his mentor, older brother Danny Simon, worked together in the 1940s writing comedy sketches for radio performer Goodman Ace. Later on, Simon would literally adapt Chekhov to the stage (none too well), but in the original Odd Couple and here and there in his later works, he married a three-dimensional humanity to his genius for writing jokes. And Simon was beloved in Chicago, where his plays dominated the commercial theater industry in the last decades of the 20th century. He was nominated for an Oscar for the latter, as well as for the films of California Suite, The Sunshine Boys, and The Odd Couple.
Simon was married five times, twice to the same woman. Simon's wife, Elaine Joyce Simon, was at the writer's bedside, along with Simon's daughters, Ellen and Nancy Simon.