Sam Simon was a writer and producer best known for his work on landmark animated series The Simpsons. He co-created the show, developed it alongside Matt Groening and James L. Brooks, served in the animation department designing characters and worked as a co-showrunner. Although he left the series in 1993, he retained his executive producer title, and won seven Emmy Awards during his tenure with the program.
Simon was a creative force on The Simpsons, writing nearly a dozen episodes during the beginning stages, and serving as a creative consultant and creative supervisor. The Simpsons, however, wasn’t the only hit comedy on his resume. He also wrote or produced episodes of Taxi, Cheers, It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, The George Carlin Show, The Drew Carey Show and The Tracey Ullman Show, and won two Emmys for his work on the latter. On occasion, he directed as well, with credits that included single episodes each of Friends, The Michael Richards Show, Men Behaving Badly and Anger Management.
Born in Los Angeles, Simon attended Stanford University, where he was the cartoonist for the school's newspaper. He went on to work as a sports cartoonist for the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Francisco Examiner. He got his start in animation at Filmation Studios, first as a storyboard artist and then as a writer, gaining his first credits on the TV shows Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids and The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse and Heckle and Jeckle.
His only foray into film, other than his creative credits on The Simpsons Movie, was as a writer for the 1991 comedy The Super, starring Joe Pesci, about a wealthy landlord who is court-ordered to live in the rundown building he owns.
In addition to his work in the entertainment industry, Simon was a devoted philanthropist. He was devoted to numerous causes, including PETA, Save the Children and, most notably, the Sam Simon Foundation, which rescues dogs and aids ailing pets for owners who could otherwise not afford medical care for their animals.
Simon died March 8, 2015, in Los Angeles. He was 59.