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Marvin Neil Simon was born the fourth of July1927 in the Bronx New York the second son of Irving Simon a Jewish traveling salesman and his wife Mamie He grew up in Manhattans Washington Heights neighborhood He was not a very good student and was eager to leave his all-boys high school to fight World War II While attending New York University as an engineering student Simon served in the Air Force Reserve where he was the Sports Editor for the Rev-Meter from 1945-1946 until fulfillment of his obligation at which time he took a position with Warner Brothers as a mailroom clerk Following his discharge in 1946 he began writing scripts with his brother Danny for radio and television personalities The first of their jobs paying fifty-dollars-a-week was writing for Goodmans CBS radio show Their sketches for Phil Silvers Gary Moore Jerry Lewis and Broadway shows such as Catch a Star 1955 and New Faces of 1956 contributed to Neils wide popularity The siblings parted ways and Simon went solo His early days as a playwright were filled with fears of failure In the beginning it terrorized me because I knew if my plays failed it meant going to California and making a living in television for the rest of my life Interview With Neil Simon httpwwwtitlepagecom cgi-localshopplpagesimonhtm His first full-length comedy Come Blow Your Horn 1961 ran for over six hundred performances and was a success but it was the Odd Couple 1965 that truly launched his career He married his first wife Joan Baim dancer in 1953 Page 3 01312002 In 1957 and 1959 he won Emmy awards for his contributions to both The Sid Caesar Show and The Phil Silvers Show Neil joined the Dramatists Guild and The Writers Guild of America and purchased his own New York theatre The Eugene ONeill Theatre In September of 1973 Joan passed away and Simon married Marsha Mason actress They divorced
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