Marvin Neil Simon’s Life and Career: From Army Camp Newspaper to America’s Most Successful Playwright

Last Updated: 18 Apr 2023
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Marvin Neil Simon was born on July 4, 1927, and grew up in Washington Heights at the northern tip of Manhattan. He attended New York University briefly (1944-45) and the University of Denver (1945-46) before joining the United States Army where he began his writing career working for the Army camp newspaper. After being discharged from the army, Simon returned to New York and took a job as a mailroom clerk for Warner Brother's East Coast office.

He and his brother Danny began writing comedy revues and eventually found their way into radio, then television. Simon received several Emmy Award nominations for his television writing, then moved on to the stage where he quickly established himself as America's most successful commercial playwright by creating an unparalleled string of Broadway hits beginning with Come Blow Your Horn. During the 1966-67 seasons, Barefoot in the Park, The Odd Couple, Sweet Charity and The Star Spangled Girl were all running simultaneously.

In 1973, following the death of his wife, Simon reached a low point in his career with two failures The Good Doctor (1973) and God's Favorite (1976). A move to California, however, reinvigorated him and he produced a much more successful play later that year in California Suite. After marrying actress Marsha Mason, Simon went on to write Chapter Two (1977) which was considered by many critics to be his finest play to that date.

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His fourth musical, They're Playing Our Song, proved fairly successful in 1979, but his next three plays (I Ought to Be in Pictures, Fools and a revised version of Little Me) all proved unsuccessful at the box office. During the course of his career, Simon has received around 27 awards. He got his first award in 1957 for your show of show and his latest one was in 2006 for American humor.

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Marvin Neil Simon’s Life and Career: From Army Camp Newspaper to America’s Most Successful Playwright. (2017, May 05). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/neil-simon/

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