Celebrities pay tribute to writing legend Neil Simon

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Hollywood is mourning Neil Simon.

Neil Simon operated in a space few writers could, successfully navigating the formidable gaps that separate the worlds of theater, movies and TV in a manner that established him as one of the most influential comedy writers of the 20th century.

The iconic playwright, remembered fondly for hits such as “The Odd Couple,” “Barefoot in the Park” and “Sweet Charity,” has died at 91

His domination of the field would continue for another 25 years, through “Lost in Yonkers” in 1991, making him the most successful American comic playwright ever and, for lack of much competition, probably the greatest.

Tributes poured out from those in the comedy field in response to the news of Simon’s death at the age of 91. Bill Prady, co-creator of the sitcom “The Big Bang Theory,” wrote on Twitter, “There is no American comedy writer whose work isn’t influenced by the rhythm and music of Neil Simon’s words.” Quinn Cummings, the child star of “The Goodbye Girl” and now a writer herself, said simply, “No one ever looks funnier than when Neil Simon’s words are coming out of their mouths.”

TV journalist Dan Rather praised Simon’s “a unique eye for life.” Simon’s sharp characters and dialogue prodded his audience “to contend with the traits that make us human.”

“Star Wars” actor Mark Hamill thanked the “GIANT of the American Theatre” for the laughs and quoted Simon:

None, however, cast a bigger or wider cultural shadow — over theater, movies and TV — than Simon, a sunshine boy who left behind a body of work whose light will continue to shine for ages.

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