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Friday Night Spotlight - Neil Simon
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The Odd Couple

Friday Night Spotlight - Neil Simon

Neil Simon, called "the patron saint of laughter" by Time magazine, holds the record for writing the greatest number of Broadway hits; has had more of his plays transferred to the screen than any other playwright; and has authored roughly a dozen original comedy screenplays. In a continuation of its popular franchise, TCM shines this month's Friday Night Spotlight on Simon and a number of his screen successes. The tribute is hosted by writer/blogger Ken Levine, an Emmy®-winning writer/producer/director whose credits include the TV series M*A*S*H, Cheers, Frasier, Everybody Loves Raymond and Almost Perfect.

Simon, born in the Bronx, NY, in 1927, began writing comedy scripts for radio and television. Although he became known as the master of the one-liner, his stage and screen comedies tackled such serious subjects as the pain of adolescence, marital conflicts and other family tensions. Much of his work has an autobiographical flavor, depicting quick-witted, Jewish New Yorkers.

The films in our Simon salute range from Come Blow Your Horn (1963), a Frank Sinatra vehicle adapted from Simon's first Broadway hit; to the TCM premiere of Lost in Yonkers (1993), a family comedy-drama that had won Simon a Tony® Award and a Pulitzer Prize. He was Oscar®-nominated for the screen adaptations of his plays The Odd Couple (1968), The Sunshine Boys (1975) and California Suite (1978), as well as for his original screenplay for The Goodbye Girl (1977).

Other Simon scripts for which he adapted screenplays include Sweet Charity (1969), Plaza Suite (1971), The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1975), Chapter Two (1979), Only When I Laugh (1981, adapted from The Gingerbread Lady) and Biloxi Blues (1988).

Among his original screenplays are The Out-of-Towners (1970), The Heartbreak Kid (1972, TCM premiere), Murder by Death (1976), The Cheap Detective (1978) and Seems Like Old Times (1980).

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