'The Simpsons' co-creator Sam Simon dies at age 59

Mon Mar 9, 2015 5:24pm EDT
 
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By Bill Trott and Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Sam Simon, a co-creator of Fox's long-running hit animated series "The Simpsons" and an ardent philanthropist for animals, died after a battle with colon cancer, his agent said on Monday. He was 59.

Simon won nine Emmy awards for his work as a writer and executive producer of "The Simpsons," the situation comedy that premiered in 1989 and won over a global audience with its portrait of a bumbling father and his wayward family.

"The Simpsons" co-creator Matt Groening, who worked with Simon to develop the show for Fox's broadcast channel, said in a statement, "We will miss Sam's phenomenal talents, sharp intelligence, and sly sense of humor."

Executive producer and showrunner Al Jean added, "I personally owe him more than can be repaid, but I will do my best to help every animal I can in his memory."

Doctors first gave Simon three to six months to live when he was diagnosed with incurable colon cancer in 2012. Simon, who had founded the Sam Simon Foundation in 2002, decided to give away his fortune, estimated by media at $100 million.

"I have a desire to help animals," Simon told Reuters last August. "The question of whether it makes financial sense, it's my money and I get to do what I want with it. It's an expensive hobby I picked up at the end of my life."

Growing up in Beverly Hills, California, Simon embraced art and was selling cartoons to San Francisco newspapers while still a student at Stanford University.

In 1988, Simon joined cartoonist Groening and producer James L. Brooks in creating "The Simpsons" prime-time series.   Continued...

 
Sam Simon, co-creator of "The Simpsons" talks while visiting a chinchilla farm in Vista, California in this August 19, 2014 file photo. Simon died at age 59 on March 8, 2015, according to his agent.  REUTERS/Mike Blake/Files