Sam Simon

Samuel Michael Simon (June 6, 1955 – March 8, 2015) was an American director, producer, writer, animal rights activist and philanthropist, who co-developed the television series The Simpsons.

While at Stanford University, Simon worked as a newspaper cartoonist and after graduating became a storyboard artist at Filmation Studios. Simon submitted a spec script for the sitcom Taxi, which was produced, and he later became the series' showrunner. Over the next few years, Simon wrote and produced for Cheers, It's Garry Shandling's Show and other programs, as well as writing the 1991 film The Super.

In 1989, Simon developed the animated sitcom The Simpsons with Matt Groening and James L. Brooks. Simon assembled the show's first writing team, co-wrote eight episodes and has been credited with "developing [the show's] sensibility".[1] Simon's relationship with Groening was strained and he left the show in 1993, negotiating a pay-off which saw him receive tens of millions of dollars from the show's revenue each year. The following year Simon co-created The George Carlin Show, before later working as a director on shows such as The Drew Carey Show. Simon won nine Primetime Emmy Awards for his television work.

Simon turned to fields outside television in his later years. Simon regularly appeared on Howard Stern's radio shows, managed[2] boxer Lamon Brewster and helped guide Brewster to the World Boxing Organization Heavyweight Championship in 2004 and was a regular poker player and six-time in the money finisher at the World Series of Poker. Simon founded the Sam Simon Foundation, which consists of a mobile veterinary clinic that goes into low-income neighborhoods offering free surgeries for cats and dogs several days per week, as well as a program that rescues and trains shelter dogs. He also funded the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society vessel the MY Sam Simon. Simon was engaged at the time of his death, having been previously twice married, including to the actress Jennifer Tilly. Following a profile of Simon on 60 Minutes in 2007, CBS writer Daniel Schorn wrote in an online article that Simon was "perhaps the Renaissance man of the baffling, uncertain age we live in."[3]

Simon was diagnosed with terminal colorectal cancer in 2012 and given only three to six months to live. Simon died on March 8, 2015. He bequeathed his $100 million estate to various charities which he actively supported during his lifetime.[4]

Sam Simon
Sam Simon
Simon at the 2008 World Series of Poker
Born
Samuel Michael Simon

June 6, 1955
DiedMarch 8, 2015 (aged 59)
Pacific Palisades, California, U.S.
OccupationDirector, producer, writer, boxing manager, philanthropist
Years active1979–2015
Known forThe Simpsons
Spouse(s)
Jennifer Tilly
(m. 1984; div. 1991)

Jami Ferrell
(m. 2000; div. 2000)
Partner(s)Kate Porter (2012–2015)

Early life

Samuel Michael Simon was born on June 6, 1955 in Los Angeles, California, United States.[5] He grew up in Beverly Hills[3][6] and Malibu.[1] Simon's family lived opposite Groucho Marx.[7] Simon's father was a cheap clothing manufacturer and was of Estonian-Jewish heritage.[7][8] Simon had a childhood which has been described as "comfortable"[9] and "privileged".[6] Although his parents wanted Simon to become a lawyer,[7] he was interested in art from a young age, appearing on televised local art programs as young as the age of five.[1] He once was told by Walt Disney that he would one day work at his studio.[10]

Simon attended Beverly Hills High School, where he was on the football team and served as a cartoonist for the school newspaper. He was named "Most Humorous" and "Most Talented" in his senior yearbook.[10] He later attended Stanford University, graduating in 1977.[1][6] Simon had not wished to attend college, but Stanford persuaded him to apply due to his sufficient grades and proficiency at football; Simon quit the football team after one day.[7] Simon drew comics for The Stanford Daily,[11][12] a college newspaper,[6] but was denied admission to a drawing class for not being talented enough.[1] As he recalled to the Stanford alumni magazine, he was told, "You'd be taking the space of a student who has talent."[13] Simon majored in psychology, but did not focus on his academics.[1][7]

Career

Early career

While still at Stanford, Simon's first job was a newspaper sports cartoonist for The San Francisco Chronicle and The San Francisco Examiner.[10] After graduating, he worked as a television storyboard artist, and later a writer, at Filmation Studios. There he worked on several animated shows, including The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse and Heckle & Jeckle and Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids (1979).[1][6][7][9] Simon recalls Filmation approving of his work because he was "self-taught and unschooled,"[1] but Simon felt the majority of what the studio produced was "awful".[7] On the suggestion of Filmation producer Lou Scheimer who was impressed by Simon's writing ability, Simon submitted a spec script for the series Taxi which was produced and aired in 1981 during its third season. Simon was hired as a writer, quickly becoming showrunner for its fifth and final season in 1983.[1][6][7][9][14][15] Simon next worked as a writer and producer on Cheers from seasons one to three (1982–1985), writing five episodes: "Endless Slumper",[16] "Battle of the Ex's",[17] "Fairytales Can Come True",[18] "Cheerio Cheers"[19] and "The Bartender's Tale".[20] Simon created, wrote and produced the short-lived sitcom Shaping Up in 1984, alongside Ken Estin; the show starred Leslie Nielsen as a gym owner and ran for five episodes on ABC.[15][21][22] Simon also wrote and produced for Best of the West (1981), Barney Miller (1982) and It's Garry Shandling's Show (1987–1988),[1][6][23] and wrote the 1991 film The Super.[24]

The Simpsons

Simon co-developed the animated series The Simpsons, which premiered on the Fox network in 1989 and has remained on air ever since. The show is regarded as one of the greatest television series of all time, with Time magazine naming it the 20th century's best series.[25] The premise for the series originated as a series of short cartoons airing in 1987 as part of The Tracey Ullman Show, on which Simon was a writer and executive producer alongside James L. Brooks, with whom Simon had worked on Taxi.[6] The cartoons were developed into a full series two years later.[26] For The Simpsons, Simon served alongside Matt Groening (who conceived the show and the five main characters) and Brooks as executive producer and showrunner for the show's first (1989–1990) and second (1990–1991) seasons,[27][28] and was creative supervisor for the first four seasons.[29] He assembled and led the initial team of writers, consisting of John Swartzwelder, Jon Vitti, George Meyer, Jeff Martin, Al Jean, Mike Reiss, Jay Kogen and Wallace Wolodarsky.[30][31][32] The cartoonist and writer Mimi Pond, who wrote the first broadcast episode "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire" (1989), has asserted, via third-party hearsay she repeated, that Simon deliberately kept women out of the writing team.[33]

Simon has been credited with "developing [the show's] sensibility."[1] Former Simpsons director Brad Bird has described him as "the unsung hero" of the show,[34] while Vitti has stated to "leave out Sam Simon" is to tell "the managed version" of The Simpsons' history, because "he was the guy we wrote for."[32] Writer Ken Levine called Simon "the real creative force behind The Simpsons ... The tone, the storytelling, the level of humor—that was all developed on Sam's watch."[35] Levine says that Simon "brought a level of honesty to the characters" and made them "three-dimensional," adding that his "comedy is all about character, not just a string of gags. In The Simpsons, the characters are motivated by their emotions and their foibles. 'What are they thinking?'—that is Sam's contribution. The stories come from the characters."[1] Simon crafted much of the world of Springfield, and designed the models for many of the show's recurring characters, including Mr. Burns, Dr. Hibbert, Chief Wiggum and Eddie and Lou,[7][32][36] as well as many of the one-time and guest-star roles, such as Bleeding Gums Murphy.[37] One of his contributions to the show's character development was his proposal that Waylon Smithers should be gay, but that this should never have too much attention drawn to it; Smithers' sexuality became one of the show's longest-running gags.[38] Simon saw The Simpsons as a chance to solve "what [he] didn't like about the Saturday-morning cartoon shows [he had] worked on ... [he] wanted all the actors in a room together, not reading their lines separated from each other. The Simpsons would have been a great radio show. If you just listen to the sound track, it works."[1]

The Simpsons utilized a process of collaborative script re-writing by the show's whole writing staff; this meant the credited writer may not have been responsible for the majority of an episode's content.[31] Nevertheless, Simon was credited with co-writing the season one episodes "The Telltale Head,"[39] "The Crepes of Wrath,"[40] and the season finale "Some Enchanted Evening."[41] "Some Enchanted Evening" was intended to be the show's premiere but was delayed due to substandard animation.[42] Simon adapted Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven for the third segment of the season two episode "Treehouse of Horror." Groening was nervous about "The Raven" because it did not have many gags, and felt it would be "the worst, most pretentious thing [they had] ever done" on the show.[43] Nevertheless, the segment has often been praised as one of the best Treehouse of Horror stories in the show's history. Ryan J. Budke of TV Squad described the segment as "one of the most refined Simpsons pop references ever," and knows "people that consider this the point that they realized The Simpsons could be both highly hilarious and highly intelligent."[44] Simon co-wrote the episode "Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish" with Swartzwelder,[45] an episode which Tom Shales of the Washington Post has described as "a bull's-eye political satire".[46] The final episode he co-wrote for season two was "The Way We Was," alongside Jean and Reiss.[47] While Reiss and Jean took over as showrunners, Simon remained on the writing staff for seasons three (1991–1992) and four (1992–1993). For the third season he co-wrote "Treehouse of Horror II,"[48] and conceived the story for the Sideshow Bob episode "Black Widower," together with mystery author Thomas Chastain, hoping to construct a full mystery story; Vitti wrote the episode's teleplay.[49] Simon also substantially contributed to the episode "Stark Raving Dad,"[50] pitched the episode "Homer at the Bat,"[51] and proposed the "Land of Chocolate" sequence from "Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk."[52] Simon's final writing credit was for the "Dial 'Z' For Zombies" segment of "Treehouse of Horror III."[53]

Although they initially worked well together, Simon and Groening's relationship became "very contentious" according to Groening.[7][32] Simon never expected the show to be a success, often proclaiming to fellow staff members "We're thirteen and out"—meaning that the show would be canceled after the thirteen episodes of the first season.[3] Therefore, he also told the staff that they had creative freedom to do whatever they wanted to make The Simpsons as good a show as possible, regardless of network or public opinion, because he thought it inevitably would not be renewed;[7][32][54] he elaborated in 2009 that "Really I was saying that to take the pressure off of everyone. I was just saying let's just go out and make 13 episodes that are really good and really funny."[55] However, Groening interpreted it as meaning Simon was uncommitted and did not care whether the show was a success or not, as Simon's career would survive, whereas his own would not.[7][32] In 2001, Groening described Simon as "brilliantly funny and one of the smartest writers I've ever worked with, although unpleasant and mentally unbalanced."[32] According to John Ortved's book The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History, when the show became successful Simon resented the media attention Groening received, particularly the praise for the show's writing; Simon felt that Groening's involvement was limited, and that he should have been the one receiving credit for the show.[56] Simon later spoke well of Groening's influence, particularly on the show's positive tone.[7]

As well as Groening, Simon was often at odds with Brooks and production company Gracie Films.[3][29] While working on The Simpsons, he and Brooks had co-created the series Sibs (1991) and Phenom (1993) as part of a multi-series deal for ABC. Simon did not want to work on either series,[7] both of which were poorly received and swiftly canceled, which put a strain on the pair's relationship.[29][57][58][59]

Simon left Gracie Films and The Simpsons in 1993; he commented that he "wasn't enjoying it anymore," wished to pursue other projects, and that of "any show I've ever worked on, it turns me into a monster. I go crazy. I hate myself."[3][29][60] Before leaving, he negotiated a deal that saw him receive a share of the show's profits every year, particularly from home media, and an executive producer credit despite not having worked on the show since 1993.[1][7][29] The deal means he made over $10 million a year from The Simpsons;[3] he later told Stanford Magazine that "tens of millions" was a closer figure.[1] Simon commented: "When I was there I thought I was underpaid. I thought I wasn't getting enough credit for it. Now, I think it's completely the opposite. I get too much credit for it. And the money is ridiculous."[3]

Subsequent media work

In January 1994, Simon co-created with comedian George Carlin the sitcom The George Carlin Show for Fox. It aired for 27 episodes before being canceled in December 1995.[61] Simon served as showrunner throughout its run and directed several episodes.[23][62] Simon persuaded Carlin to do the show after writing it as something which would not be "typically sitcomy."[63] He conceived the show as what Carlin's life would have been like had he never become a comedian; Carlin played a heavy drinking New York taxi driver. Simon commented: "When I was doing The Simpsons, people couldn't see how smart it was because of the low moments. There's something about this show. People who like it say it's classy. They don't see how vulgar it is."[64] Carlin wrote negatively of his relationship with Simon. On his own website, Carlin wrote of the show: "always check mental health of creative partner beforehand. Loved the actors, loved the crew. Had a great time. Couldn't wait to get the fuck out of there."[61] In his final book, the posthumously published Last Words (2009), Carlin elaborated: "I had a great time. I never laughed so much, so often, so hard as I did with cast members Alex Rocco, Chris Rich, Tony Starke. There was a very strange, very good sense of humor on that stage ... The biggest problem, though, was that Sam Simon was a fucking horrible person to be around. Very, very funny, extremely bright and brilliant, but an unhappy person who treated other people poorly."[62] Simon described himself as "combative" and said that most people see him as having a "bad attitude".[7]

In the late 1990s, Simon primarily worked as a director. He directed on the American adaptation of the sitcom Men Behaving Badly in 1996,[65] the Friends season three episode "The One Without the Ski Trip" in 1997,[23][66] and several episodes of The Norm Show (1999) and The Michael Richards Show (2000).[23] From 1998 to 2003, he served as a consulting producer and director for The Drew Carey Show,[23] and directed the show's series finale.[6] He was also a creative consultant on Bless This House in 1996.[6][15]

From 1999 to some time in the early 2000s, Simon was President of e-Nexus Studios the once entertainment content arm of ZeniMax Media, Parent Company of video game publisher Bethesda Softworks.[67][68] After E-Nexus was shut down, Simon became President of the creative group at ZeniMax Productions, another subsidiary of ZeniMax.[69]

After leaving The Simpsons and The George Carlin Show, Simon sought to find a "life outside television," as working in the industry "made [him] crazy."[3] On working in television, Simon concluded: "In some ways, it's the greatest job in the world. You make a product that's given away, and all it does is make people smile. Nobody gets hurt, there's no damage, and you can get crazy rich."[1] Simon retired from full-time television work,[7][23] although still worked in the media, frequently contributing, as a writer and a participant, to Howard Stern's radio shows.[1] He wrote and directed the one-off radio sitcom "The Bitter Half" for Stern's Howard 101 in 2006.[3][70] Simon had his own show on Radioio.[7][71][72] Simon returned to television production work in 2012, serving as a consultant and director on the series Anger Management for half a day a week.[7][73]

Other ventures

Simon was a staunch advocate for animal rights and veganism, and described himself as an "animal lover".[74] Around the year 2000, he joined People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).[74][75] Their relationship began after Simon asked the staff of The Drew Carey Show to change a part of an episode which involved greyhound racing, but they refused to do so and that led Simon to donate his fee to the organization.[75] Starting in 2002, he self-funded, at an annual cost of several million dollars, The Sam Simon Foundation, which has a mobile clinic that provides free surgeries for cats and dogs, as well as rescuing and retraining shelter dogs who might otherwise be euthanized.[76] An episode of 60 Minutes broadcast in March 2007 described it as "the grandest dog shelter in the country, a five star, [6 acres (0.024 km2; 0.0094 sq mi)] spread in Malibu, perhaps the most desirable real estate on the planet. Here, among the waterfalls and the manicured grounds, The Sam Simon Foundation gives stray and abandoned dogs a new lease on life, literally."[3]

Neptune Navy - MY Sam Simon-Hobart 2012
The MY Sam Simon
Sea Shepherd vessel
paid for by, and named after, Simon

As Simon explained, the foundation aims to "rescue dogs" and "train them to be service dogs, [to help] people with disabilities,"[3] primarily the deaf.[1] It also provides free veterinary surgeries to pets belonging to low-income families,[3] and trains dogs to help soldiers returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan deal with post-traumatic stress disorder.[1] Simon said the money he used was "well spent just for the pleasure it gives me."[3] The training program has a 20% success rate, because many of the rescued dogs "have physical and psychological problems" but the dogs who cannot be trained are put up for adoption.[1] The foundation is non-profit, does not accept public donations, but does receive some federal government funding due to a bill written and passed by Senator Al Franken.[77] In 2011, Simon established and self-funded the Sam Simon Foundation Feeding Families program, a food truck which delivers vegan food to low-income families; the program helps feed some 200 families per week.[7][77] He donated an undisclosed sum to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in 2012 for the purpose of purchasing another vessel for their fleet, the MY Sam Simon,[78] which was unveiled in December 2012.[79] Simon was also a board member for Save the Children,[7][23] and hosted the largest annual fundraiser for PETA,[14] who named him an Honorary Director and their Norfolk, Virginia headquarters building after him.[80][81] Simon has stated that animal rights charities have been his main target for donations, over other causes like human disease and environmental damage, because "your money can bring success" with visible results.[74] Simon stated in 2011 that there is "nothing [which gives him] more pleasure than" helping others via his charities,[77] and gave away most of his fortune.[7]

Simon was a long time fan of boxing, attending fights with his grandfather, but his interest increased particularly after seeing the 1990 heavyweight championship fight between Evander Holyfield and James "Buster" Douglas which he described as "the most electrifying feeling I'd had in my life."[6][9] He began training and won six out of nine amateur fights; he was also a reserve contestant on the Fox series Celebrity Boxing.[6] Simon was for eight years the manager of heavyweight boxer Lamon Brewster, the now-retired former World Boxing Organization heavyweight champion.[3] He met Brewster in 1997 and began managing him, helping him rise to the top of the WBO rankings. He considers guiding Brewster to his April 2004 victory over Wladimir Klitschko to win the vacant WBO Heavyweight Championship, with Klitschko the heavy favorite, to be amongst the greatest moments of his life; it "eclipsed everything he had achieved in a glittering 26-year showbiz career."[9] Before the Klitschko fight, Simon calculated he had spent several hundred thousand dollars funding Brewster, paying him a large salary on top of match fees as well as letting him stay rent-free at one of his houses, and taking only a 10% cut of the match fees; however, he never intended boxing to be a substantial "source of revenue".[6] Simon retired from boxing management soon after Brewster became WBO Heavyweight Champion.[1]

Sam Simon
ResidencePacific Palisades, Los Angeles
World Series of Poker
Bracelet(s)None
Money finish(es)6
Highest ITM
Main Event finish
329th, 2007

Simon was a regular poker player, and Texas hold 'em in particular.[3][7][23] He was introduced to the game as a child through weekly family poker games and casino trips with his grandfather. Simon did not consider himself a serious player until a game at writer David Steinberg's house with several "scholarly" players, which encouraged him to study the game and enter numerous tournaments, although he decided not to become professional.[23] He competed at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) each year between 2007 and 2011, finishing in the money in six events. In 2007, at the 6,358-player $10,000 No-Limit Texas Hold'em Main Event, he finished 329th with $39,445. He also finished 16th winning $35,493 at the $1,000 1,048-player No-Limit Hold'em w/Re-Buys in 2007, 41st winning $10,708 at the $1,000 706-player No-Limit Hold'em w/ReBuys in 2008, 53rd winning $10,692 at the $1,000 879-player No-Limit Hold'em w/ReBuys in 2008, 20th winning $24,066 at the $10,000 275-player World Championship Pot-Limit Hold'em in 2009, and 500th winning $23,876 at the $10,000 6,865-player No-Limit Hold'em Championship in 2011.[82][83] He also won the $300 438-player No-Limit Hold'em Bounty $100,000 Guarantee at the 2009 L.A. Poker Open, winning $22,228.[14][84] His biggest win in terms of both field size and prize money was the $200 1,082-player No-Limit Hold'em $150,000 Guarantee at the 2010 Winnin O' The Green, where he won $57,308.[84] Simon's private poker games between him and his celebrity friends have been described as "raucous and very entertaining". Their reputation led Playboy TV to produce the show Sam's Game, a televised version featuring Simon as host and master of ceremonies of a Las Vegas celebrity Texas Hold 'em match;[1][85] he produced the show.[77] He had previously appeared on a 2009 episode of High Stakes Poker.[55]

Awards

Simon won nine Primetime Emmy Awards and received ten further nominations for his work. For The Tracey Ullman Show he won the Emmys for Outstanding Variety, Music Or Comedy Series in 1989 and Outstanding Writing In A Variety Or Music Program in 1990. In the former he was nominated again in 1990, for the latter he was also nominated in 1987, 1988 and 1989.[86] He received the Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program (for Programming Less Than One Hour) for The Simpsons in 1990, 1991, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2000 and 2001 with further nominations in 1990 (for "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire" which was counted as a separate special), 1992, 1996, 1999 and 2002.[86] He was nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series for Taxi in 1983 and Cheers in 1985, Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for It's Garry Shandling's Show in 1988 and Outstanding Variety, Music Or Comedy Special for The Best of Tracey Ullman Show in 1990.[86] He also won a Peabody Award for The Simpsons in 1996.[23][87] In 2013, Simon was awarded the Writers Guild of America Award Animation Writers Caucus lifetime achievement award for his work in animation; the following year the WGA awarded him the Valentine Davies Award for his humanitarian and philanthropic efforts.[88]

Personal life

Simon was married to actress Jennifer Tilly from 1984 to 1991 and remained friends with her.[3][6][77][89] He married Playboy Playmate Jami Ferrell in 2000,[77][90] and the marriage lasted three weeks.[6] Simon was engaged to chef and caterer Jenna Stewart around 2011.[14][77] He was dating Kate Porter, a make-up artist, from 2012 until his death.[10] Simon became a vegetarian at the age of nineteen and when joining People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals around 2000, he turned to veganism.[75] He had three dogs.[91]

He lived in Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles, in the restored Bailey House, designed by Richard Neutra.[1] After his home was destroyed by a fire in 2007, Simon redesigned it to be environmentally friendly; much of the interior is constructed from recycled materials while solar panels provide virtually its entire power needs. The building has a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold certificate.[14] He had an extensive art collection; he owned paintings by Thomas Hart Benton, John Singer Sargent and one of the original casts of Auguste Rodin's The Thinker.[3] He also had a sculpture by Robert Graham and works by Alberto Vargas, Gil Elvgren, Ed Ruscha and Richard Estes.[1][14]

Illness and death

In late 2012, Simon was diagnosed with terminal colorectal cancer which later metastasized to his other organs, including his liver and kidneys. He had been feeling ill for some time and had earlier been misdiagnosed.[7] He was given between three and six months to live; chemotherapy treatment reduced the size of his tumors over the following six months.[7][92] He arranged for his fortune to be left to various charitable causes, stating "The truth is, I have more money than I'm interested in spending. Everyone in my family is taken care of. And I enjoy this."[74] Simon died in his Los Angeles home from complications of the disease on March 8, 2015, aged 59.[93][94][95] His remains were interred at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.

Controversy surrounds the management of his trust, and the lack of donations to groups which he supported in his lifetime.[96]

Credits

Credits in films and television productions[15][97]
Year Title Medium Role Notes
1979 The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse and Heckle & Jeckle TV series Storyboard artist, writer
1979 Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids TV series Storyboard artist, writer
1981 Best of the West TV series Writer
1982 Barney Miller TV series Writer
1981–1983 Taxi TV series Executive story editor, showrunner, producer, writer
1982–1985 Cheers TV series Producer, writer
1984 Shaping Up TV series Creator, executive producer, writer
1987–1988 It's Garry Shandling's Show TV series Creative consultant, writer
1987–1989 The Tracey Ullman Show TV series Executive producer, writer
1989–1993 The Simpsons TV series Character designer, creative consultant, creative supervisor, developer, executive producer, showrunner, writer Left in 1993, but still receives an executive producer credit on later episodes, even after his death in 2015.
1991 Sibs TV series Creator, writer
1991 The Super Feature film Writer
1993 Phenom TV series Creator, writer
1994–1995 The George Carlin Show TV series Co-creator, director, executive producer, showrunner, writer
1996 Men Behaving Badly TV series Director
1996 Bless This House TV series Creative consultant
1997 Friends TV series Director
1998–2003 The Drew Carey Show TV series Consulting producer, director, writer
1999 The Norm Show TV series Director
2000 The Michael Richards Show TV series Director
2000 American Adventure TV film Executive producer
2001 Rock & Roll Back to School Special TV film Consulting producer, writer
2001 House of Cards TV film Executive producer, writer
2009 Sam's Game Reality TV series Creator, executive producer, host
2012 Anger Management TV series Consultant, director

References

Footnotes
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y Rapoport, Ron (2009). "Sam Simon's Next Trick". Stanford Magazine. Retrieved June 18, 2011.
  2. ^ "Stanford Magazine - Article".
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Schorn, Daniel; Safer, Morley (March 2, 2007). "Meet Sam Simon, The Dog Nut". CBS News. Retrieved June 13, 2011.
  4. ^ Weisman, Aly. Simpsons creator Sam Simon dies at 59; donated $100 million fortune to charity' Business Inside, March 9, 2015. retrieved March 11, 2015
  5. ^ Sam Simon at The Interviews: An Oral History of Television (2013); retrieved March 20, 2014.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Hauser, Thomas (2004). "Sam Simon and the Allure of Boxing". SecondsOut.com. Archived from the original on August 10, 2011. Retrieved June 18, 2011.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y Simon, Sam (May 16, 2013). Interview with Marc Maron, WTF with Marc Maron, located here [1]; retrieved May 19, 2013.
  8. ^ Times of Israel: "'Simpsons' co-creator, philanthropist Sam Simon dies aged 59 – Award-winning Jewish writer, director, producer of popular show was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer in 2011" By Frazier Moore March 10, 2015
  9. ^ a b c d e Lewis, Mike (December 12, 2004). "TV producer puts Brewster in the picture". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved June 17, 2011.
  10. ^ a b c d Markoe, Merrill (September 30, 2014). "Always Leave Them Laughing". Vanity Fair. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
  11. ^ The Stanford Daily, Volume 164, Issue 44, 17 November 1973 to Volume 170S, Issue 5, 19 November 1976
  12. ^ Portfolio of college-era newspaper artwork by Sam Simon
  13. ^ Bernstein, Adam (March 9, 2015). "Sam Simon, co-creator of 'The Simpsons,' dies at 59". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved January 7, 2016.
  14. ^ a b c d e f Abel, Ann (September 9, 2010). "Animal Instincts". Forbes. Retrieved July 4, 2011.
  15. ^ a b c d "Sam Simon Filmography". The New York Times. Retrieved August 17, 2011.
  16. ^ Bjorklund, p. 267
  17. ^ Bjorklund, p. 282
  18. ^ Bjorklund, p. 291
  19. ^ Bjorklund, p. 300
  20. ^ Bjorklund, p. 301
  21. ^ Terrace, Vincent (1985). Encyclopedia of Television Series, Pilots and Specials: 1974–1984. VNR AG. p. 373. ISBN 978-0-918432-61-2.
  22. ^ Bykofsky, Stuart (March 20, 1984). "Buddy System Doesn't Work". Philadelphia Daily News. p. 61.
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Friedman, Michael (March 2008). "Simon Says Fold". Bluff Magazine. Archived from the original on November 6, 2008. Retrieved June 28, 2011.
  24. ^ Ebert, Roger (October 4, 1991). "The Super". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved July 3, 2011.
  25. ^ "The Best Of The Century". Time. December 31, 1999. Retrieved June 3, 2007.
  26. ^ Snierson, Dan (January 8, 2010). "20 Years Ago: The Simpsons arrive". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 16, 2011.
  27. ^ Richmond & Coffman 1997, pp. 16–17.
  28. ^ Richmond & Coffman 1997, p. 34.
  29. ^ a b c d e Ortved, pp. 146–149.
  30. ^ Ortved, p. 58
  31. ^ a b Owen, David (March 13, 2000). "Taking Humour Seriously". The New Yorker.
  32. ^ a b c d e f g Scott, A. O. (November 4, 2001). "How 'The Simpsons' Survives". New York Times. Retrieved July 27, 2010.
  33. ^ Loughrey, Clarisse (August 17, 2017). "The Simpsons: Writer of first episode says she was kept out of the writer's room for being a woman". The Independent. Retrieved August 17, 2017.
  34. ^ Ortved, p. 59.
  35. ^ Levine, Ken (August 5, 2011). "How we got our first Simpsons assignment". By Ken Levine. Retrieved August 13, 2011.
  36. ^ Ortved, pp. 58–60
  37. ^ Rhodes, Joe (May 18, 1990). "The Making of The Simpsons The Art of Bart". Entertainment Weekly. pp. 36–43.
  38. ^ Reiss, Mike; Jean, Al (2001). The Simpsons season 1 DVD commentary for the episode "The Telltale Head" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  39. ^ Richmond & Coffman 1997, p. 24.
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Bibliography
  • Bjorklund, Dennis A. (1997). Toasting Cheers: An Episode Guide to the 1982–1993 Comedy Series, with cast biographies and character profiles. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-89950-962-4. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  • Groening, Matt (1997). Richmond, Ray; Coffman, Antonia (eds.). The Simpsons: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family (1st ed.). New York: HarperPerennial. ISBN 978-0-06-095252-5. LCCN 98141857. OCLC 37796735. OL 433519M.
  • Carlin, George; Hendra, Tony (2009). Last Words. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1-4391-7295-7.
  • Ortved, John (2009). The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History. Greystone Books. ISBN 978-1-55365-503-9.

External links

George Meyer

George A. Meyer (born 1956) is an American producer and writer. Meyer is best known for his work on The Simpsons, where he led the group script rewrite sessions. He has been publicly credited with "thoroughly shap[ing] ... the comedic sensibility" of the show.Raised in Tucson, Meyer attended Harvard University. There, after becoming president of the Harvard Lampoon, he graduated in 1978 with a degree in biochemistry. Abandoning plans to attend medical school, Meyer attempted to make money through dog racing but failed after two months. After a series of short-term jobs he was hired in 1981 by David Letterman, on the advice of two of Meyer's Harvard Lampoon cowriters, to join the writing team of his show Late Night with David Letterman.

Meyer left after two seasons and went on to write for The New Show, Not Necessarily the News and Saturday Night Live. Tired of life in New York, Meyer moved to Boulder, Colorado where he wrote a screenplay for a film for Letterman to star in. The project fell through and Meyer then founded the humor zine Army Man which garnered a strong following, although Meyer ended it after three issues. The producer Sam Simon was a fan and he hired Meyer to write for the animated sitcom The Simpsons in 1989. He has held a number of positions on the show and also cowrote The Simpsons Movie. Meyer is in a relationship with the writer Maria Semple and the two have a daughter.

Jon Vitti

Jon Vitti (born 1960) is an American writer best known for his work on the television series The Simpsons. He has also written for the King of the Hill, The Critic and The Office, and has served as a screenwriter or consultant for several animated and live-action movies, including Ice Age (2002) and Robots (2005). He is one of the eleven writers of The Simpsons Movie and also wrote the screenplays for the film adaptions Alvin and the Chipmunks, its sequel and The Angry Birds Movie.

List of Taxi episodes

The following is a list of all 114 episodes of the television show Taxi.

All five seasons have been released on DVD by Paramount Home Entertainment (1–3) and CBS Home Entertainment (4–5, Complete Series).

List of The Drew Carey Show episodes

The following is a complete list of episodes for the television show sitcom The Drew Carey Show, which first aired on ABC on September 13, 1995. Throughout the show's run, nine seasons were filmed amassing 233 episodes, with the final episode airing on September 8, 2004. The sitcom follows assistant personnel director Drew Carey, in his romances and relationships to friends Lewis, Oswald, and Kate. There have been two DVD releases for The Drew Carey Show: the first was a six-episode compilation released on February 28, 2006 and the first season was released on April 24, 2007.

List of The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror episodes

This is a list of Treehouse of Horror episodes produced by the animated television series The Simpsons. Treehouse of Horror episodes have aired annually since the second season (1990) and each episode has three separate segments. These segments usually involve the family in some horror, science fiction, or supernatural setting and always take place outside the normal continuity of the show and are therefore considered to be non-canon. The original "Treehouse of Horror" episode aired on October 25, 1990 and was inspired by EC Comics Horror tales. Before "Treehouse of Horror XI", which aired in 2000, every episode has aired in the week preceding or on October 31; "Treehouse of Horror II" and "Treehouse of Horror X" are the only two episodes to air on Halloween. Between 2000 to 2008 and 2010, due to Fox's contract with Major League Baseball's World Series, several episodes have originally aired in November; as of 2011 every Treehouse of Horror episode has aired in October. From "Treehouse of Horror" to "Treehouse of Horror XIII", all three segments were written by different writers and in some cases there was a fourth writer that wrote the opening and wraparound segments. For "Treehouse of Horror", there were even three different directors for the episode. Starting with season fifteen's "Treehouse of Horror XIV", only one writer was credited as having written a Treehouse of Horror episode, and the trend has continued since.As of 2018, there are twenty-nine Treehouse of Horror episodes, with one airing every year. They are known for being more violent than an average Simpsons episode and contain several different trademarks, including the alien characters Kang and Kodos who have appeared in every episode. Quite often the segments will parody well-known movies, books, radio shows, and television shows. The Twilight Zone has been parodied quite often, and has served as the inspiration for numerous segments.

MY Sam Simon

MY Sam Simon is the fourth vessel of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society fleet, named after American television producer and writer Sam Simon, who donated the money to purchase the vessel. The ship's identity was kept secret, to be revealed when she met the Japanese whaling fleet in 2012, but was identified when her registration was discovered on the Australian Maritime Safety Authority's list of registered ships.Sam Simon is the former Japanese weather survey ship Kaiko Maru No 8. Sea Shepherd paid the Government of Japan AUD $2,000,000 for the vessel. She was renamed MV New Atlantis shortly before being moved to Brisbane, Queensland. She was subsequently re-registered under the Australian flag as a pleasure craft called Sam Simon.

Sibs

Sibs is an American sitcom broadcast by ABC from September 17, 1991 until May 6, 1992. The series chronicled the relationship of three sisters, and the support the youngest two especially needed from their eldest married sister. Sibs was created by Heide Perlman and executived produced by Perlman, James L. Brooks and Sam Simon, all of whom had been showrunners of Fox's The Tracey Ullman Show. The series was backed by Brooks' Gracie Films company and Columbia Pictures Television.

Some Enchanted Evening (The Simpsons)

"Some Enchanted Evening" is the thirteenth and final episode of The Simpsons' first season. It was originally broadcast on the Fox network in the United States on May 13, 1990. Written by Matt Groening and Sam Simon and directed by David Silverman and Kent Butterworth, "Some Enchanted Evening" was the first episode produced for season one and was intended to air as the series premiere in fall 1989, but aired as the season one finale due to animation issues. The Christmas special "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire" premiered in its place on December 17, 1989. It is the last episode to feature the original opening sequence starting from "Bart the Genius". In the episode, Homer and Marge go on a night out while leaving the children under the care of a diabolical babysitter named Ms. Botz.

Penny Marshall provided the voice of Ms. Botz. The episode features cultural references to such films as The Night of the Hunter and Psycho as well as a musical reference to A Star Is Born. Since its initial broadcast, the episode has received mixed reviews from television critics. It acquired a Nielsen rating of 15.4, and was the highest-rated show on the Fox network the week it aired.

The George Carlin Show

The George Carlin Show is an American sitcom that aired Sunday at 9:30 pm on the Fox network from January 1994 to July 1995. It was created jointly by Sam Simon and the show's namesake, comedian George Carlin.

The Simpsons (season 1)

The first season of the American animated television series The Simpsons originally aired on the Fox network between December 17, 1989 and May 13, 1990, beginning with the Christmas special "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire". The executive producers for the first production season were Matt Groening, James L. Brooks, and Sam Simon.The series was originally set to debut in autumn 1989 with the episode "Some Enchanted Evening", which was meant to introduce the main characters; during the first screening of the episode, the producers discovered that the animation was so appalling that 70% of the episode needed to be redone.The producers considered aborting the series if the next episode turned out as bad, but it only suffered from easily fixable problems. The producers convinced Fox to move the debut to December 17, and aired "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire" as the first episode of the series. The first season won one Emmy Award, and received four additional nominations. The DVD boxset was released on September 25, 2001 in Region 1 and September 24, 2001 in both Region 2 and Region 4.

The Simpsons (season 2)

The Simpsons' second season originally aired on the Fox network between October 11, 1990 and July 11, 1991, and contained 22 episodes, beginning with "Bart Gets an "F"". Another episode, "Blood Feud", aired during the summer after the official season finale. The executive producers for the second production season were Matt Groening, James L. Brooks, and Sam Simon, who had also been EPs for the previous season. The DVD box set was released on August 6, 2002 in Region 1, July 8, 2002 in Region 2 and in September, 2002 in Region 4. The episode "Homer vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment" won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program (for Programming Less Than One Hour), and was also nominated in the "Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy Series or a Special" category.

The Simpsons (season 27)

The Simpsons' twenty-seventh season began airing on Fox in the United States on September 27, 2015, and ended on May 22, 2016. On October 28, 2014, executive producer Al Jean announced that Season 27 went into production, renewing the series through the 2015–16 season.The season premiere deals with Homer being diagnosed with narcolepsy, his breaking up with Marge, and falling for a pharmacist. Guest stars for this season include Blake Anderson, Kristen Bell, David Copperfield, Lena Dunham, Kelsey Grammer, Nick Kroll, Yo-Yo Ma, Edward James Olmos, Kevin Michael Richardson, and George Takei. Carl Zealer, who won a competition to be animated into The Simpsons, appeared in the episode "Halloween of Horror".

This is the last season to be produced by Film Roman and the last to credit Sam Simon as producer due to his death in 2015.

On May 14, 2015, showrunner Al Jean announced that veteran Simpsons voice actor Harry Shearer had left the show to pursue other work after his contract expired. However, on July 7, he returned to the show after signing a new deal with five other cast members.

The Simpsons (season 3)

The Simpsons' third season originally aired on the Fox network between September 19, 1991 and August 27, 1992. The showrunners for the third production season were Al Jean and Mike Reiss who executive produced 22 episodes for the season, while two other episodes were produced by James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, and Sam Simon. An additional episode, "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?", aired on August 27, 1992 after the official end of the third season and is included on the Season 3 DVD set. Season three won six Primetime Emmy Awards for "Outstanding Voice-Over Performance" and also received a nomination for "Outstanding Animated Program" for the episode "Radio Bart". The complete season was released on DVD in Region 1 on August 26, 2003, Region 2 on October 6, 2003, and in Region 4 on October 22, 2003.

The Super (1991 film)

The Super is a 1991 American comedy film directed by Rod Daniel and starring Joe Pesci as a New York City slum landlord sentenced to live in one of his own buildings until it is brought up to code. Screenwriter Nora Ephron co-scripted the story with Sam Simon. The Super is the last film in which Vincent Gardenia appeared.

The Telltale Head

"The Telltale Head" is the eighth episode of The Simpsons' first season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on February 25, 1990. It was written by Al Jean, Mike Reiss, Sam Simon and Matt Groening, and directed by Rich Moore. In the episode, Bart cuts the head off the statue of Jebediah Springfield in the center of town to impress Jimbo, Kearney and Dolph, three older kids he admires. The town's residents, including the three boys, are horrified and Bart regrets his actions. After telling Lisa and Marge, Homer and Bart head to the center of town, where they are met by an angry mob. After Bart tells the mob the boys has made a mistake, the townspeople forgive Bart and the boy places the head back on the statue. The episode's title is a reference to the short story "The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe.

The Way We Was

"The Way We Was" is the twelfth episode of The Simpsons' second season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on January 31, 1991. In the episode, Marge tells the story of how she and Homer first met and fell in love. Flashing back to 1974, we see how Homer falls in love with Marge in high school and tries to get close to her by enlisting her as his French tutor. After several hours of verb conjugation, Marge falls for Homer too, only to become enraged when he admits he is not a French student. Marge rejects Homer's invitation to the prom and goes with Artie Ziff. Artie turns out to be a terrible date and Marge realizes that it is Homer she really wants.

The episode was written by Al Jean, Mike Reiss, and Sam Simon, and directed by David Silverman. It was the first flashback episode of The Simpsons. Jon Lovitz guest-starred in it as Artie Ziff. The episode features cultural references to songs such as "The Joker" and "(They Long to Be) Close to You", and the television series Siskel & Ebert & the Movies.

Since airing, the episode has received mostly positive reviews from television critics. It acquired a Nielsen rating of 15.6, and was the highest rated show on Fox the week it aired.

Treehouse of Horror II

"Treehouse of Horror II" is the seventh episode of The Simpsons' third season. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on October 31, 1991. It is the only Treehouse of Horror episode to date where each segment name is not stated inside the episode. It is the second annual Treehouse of Horror episode, consisting of three self-contained segments, told as dreams of Lisa, Bart and Homer. In the first segment, which was inspired by W. W. Jacobs's short story The Monkey's Paw and The New Twilight Zone episode "A Small Talent for War", Homer buys a Monkey's Paw that has the power to grant wishes, although all of the wishes backfire. In the second part, which parodies the Twilight Zone episode "It's a Good Life", Bart is omnipotent, and turns Homer into a jack-in-the-box, resulting in the two spending more time together. In the final segment, Mr. Burns attempts to use Homer's brain to power a giant robotic laborer.

The episode was written by Al Jean, Mike Reiss, Jeff Martin, George Meyer, Sam Simon and John Swartzwelder while Jim Reardon was the director. The episode is presented in a similar format to the previous season's "Treehouse of Horror" and contains several similarities to the previous episode, such as Marge's opening warning, the tombstones in the opening credits and the appearance of the alien characters Kang and Kodos. "Treehouse of Horror II" was the first episode that employed the "scary names" idea, in which many of the credits have unusual names. The episode contains numerous parodies and references to horror and science fiction works, including The Twilight Zone, Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, The Thing with Two Heads and Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

In its original airing on the Fox Network, the episode had a 12.1 Nielsen rating and finished the week ranked 39th. The episode received positive reviews, and in 2006, IGN listed the third story as the eighth best Treehouse of Horror segment. The episode was nominated for two Primetime Emmy Awards: Outstanding Individual Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Comedy Series or a Special and Alf Clausen for Outstanding Music Composition for a Series.

Treehouse of Horror III

"Treehouse of Horror III" is the fifth episode of The Simpsons' fourth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on October 29, 1992. In the third annual Treehouse of Horror episode, Homer buys Bart an evil talking Krusty doll, King Homer is captured by Mr. Burns, and Bart and Lisa inadvertently cause zombies to attack Springfield. The episode was written by Al Jean, Mike Reiss, Jay Kogen, Wallace Wolodarsky, Sam Simon, and Jon Vitti, and directed by Carlos Baeza.

Waylon Smithers

Waylon Joseph Smithers Jr., usually referred to as Mr. Smithers or simply Smithers, is a recurring fictional character in the animated sitcom The Simpsons, who is voiced by Harry Shearer. Smithers first appeared in the episode "Homer's Odyssey", although his voice could be heard in the series premiere "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire". He is the consummate executive and personal assistant of Springfield Nuclear Power Plant's owner Mr. Burns.

Smithers' loyalty and devotion to Mr. Burns was inspired from how numerous Fox executives and staff members acted towards Barry Diller. The idea for Smithers' ambiguous sexual orientation came from Sam Simon, who proposed that Smithers should be gay, but little attention should be drawn to it. Smithers' first name (Waylon) was derived from that of puppeteer Wayland Flowers.Smithers was colorized in his first appearance as black with blue hair. Matt Groening, in an interview with TMZ, said that this was a mistake but the producers didn't have enough money to correct it.Smithers is the loyal, obedient and sycophantic assistant to Mr. Burns, and the relationship between the two is a frequent running gag on The Simpsons. In many ways, Smithers represents the stereotype of a closeted gay man, and numerous overt allusions and double entendres concerning his homosexuality are made, though some of the show's producers instead interpret him as a "Burns-sexual". In the season 27 (2016) episode "The Burns Cage", he came out as gay.

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