Monday, 9 March 2015


My obit of Sam Simon is online at the Guardian, you can link to it here. It should be in the paper paper Wednesday; I got the call too late this evening to make tomorrow's paper. It's pretty much as written, which is nice because it was a rush job on what was going to be a busy evening with Nate, his dinner, his algebra, and a movie. Only the movie was lost.

Simon is a fascinating figure; a polyglot whose talents were fueled by the fortune he made from the Simpsons after he left the show. None of his comedy work, with Carlin, Carey, Stern or whomever, matched that. But I suspect the negotiator who got that deal, and who went head to head with Don King (who then asked him and his lawyers to sign blank sheets of paper onto which King would have 'his people' copy the deal they'd agreed!) was a hell of a poker player. Apparently he once beat his ex-wife Jennifer Tilley head to head in one of their poker tourneys. That must've been some marriage.

I would have liked to write a small essay on the melding of Simon's sensibility with Matt Groening's (that's them flanking James Brooks in the photo above). I hint at the importance of that in the piece, but if you read Life In Hell throughout the Eighties, you can see the subtle way in which Groening's world view remains, and the way Simon hung on to it even as he The Simpson's domain outside the personal.

It's admirable how Simon, having been a generous donor, decided to use his fortune once he knew he was dying. He had no children, but he leaves behind others of his family, and of course, the Simpsons.

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