Neil Simon, comedy master and prolific playwright, dies at 91

Neil Simon appears at the curtain call for the opening night performance of the Broadway musical

The New York native, who grew up during The Great Depression, passed away from complications related to pneumonia, his longtime friend Bill Evans told ABC News.

Simon's cause of death was age-related; according to TMZ, he suffered from a failing kidney, dementia, and Alzheimer's Disease, and he was on life support before he died. His wife, Elaine Joyce Simon, was at his bedside along with his daughters, Ellen Simon and Nancy Simon.

Simon received the Pulitzer Prize in 1991 for "Lost in Yonkers", which also earned him a Tony Award.

Neil Simon has the distinction of being the only writer to have four major Broadway productions all running simultaneously, which happened back in the 60s.

Neil Simon - the United States playwright behind The Odd Couple - has died in hospital suffering with kidney failure at the age of 91.

His influence has been felt through the generations, The New York Times drawing a line between Simon's early comedies and the character-based comedy in the 1990s hit sitcom "Seinfeld".

Simon's stage successes included "The Prisoner of Second Avenue", "Last of the Red Hot Lovers", "The Sunshine Boys", "Plaza Suite", "Chapter Two", "Sweet Charity" and "Promises, Promises".

Simon wrote in his autobiography "Rewrites", published in 1996, that his older brother Danny had inspired him to pursue comedy. He wrote his first Broadway play in 1961 with Come Blow Your Horn. Simon continued into the next decade with "Lost in Yonkers", "Jake's Women", "The Goodbye Girl" and "Laughter on the 23rd Floor". "When I say the critics are fair with me that includes the negative reviews because sometimes I agree with them", Simon told the Los Angeles Times in 1989.

His semi-autobiographical trilogy - "Brighton Beach Memoirs", "Biloxi Blues" and "Broadway Bound - was a fixture on Broadway in the 1980s".

Simon's plays were usually set in NY with characters whose problems were similar to those experienced by Simon.

Simon died Sunday at age 91.

Simon also was a master of probing the relationships of opposites, most famously in "The Odd Couple", a beloved comedy that looked at two roommates, the schlubby Oscar Madison (Matthau in the 1968 film) and the fastidious Felix Unger (Jack Lemmon).

He'll go down in history as perhaps one of the most important playwrights in American history due to his innumerable contributions to theatre, writing, comedy, and film.

Playwright Neil Simon accepts the 2006 Mark Twain Prize at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., on October 15, 2006.

Simon was married five times, twice to actress Diane Lander.

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