Sam Simon

June 6, 1955 – March 8, 2015

American writer and producer who, with Matt Groening and James L. Brooks, co-created The Simpsons. Initially an animator, Simon wrote for Taxi and Cheers. He served as The Simpsons’ first showrunner and was the true creative force behind the world, characters and humour of arguably the greatest show in history. He hired the show’s first team of writers, and designed characters like Mr. Burns, but left in 1993 over creative disputes (mainly that Groening got too much credit), negotiating a pay-off to the tune of tens of millions annually. He created The George Carlin Show and directed for The Drew Carey Show, but largely retired from TV work after The Simpsons. He won 9 Emmys throughout his career. Instead, he played poker to a professional standard, managed Lamon Brewster to the Heavyweight Championship, worked on Howard Stern’s radio show and was twice married, to Jennifer Tilly and Playboy’s Jami Ferrell. But for a man described by Groening and Carlin as unpleasant and mentally unstable, Simon spent much of life and fortune vociferously helping to free and care for animals, particularly dogs. After a long, public battle way beyond his original diagnosis, Simon died from colorectal cancer aged 59.