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". 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 boxer Lamon Brewster and helped guide Lamon 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 self-christened 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."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.
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