Sam Simon, who co-created FOX’s hit animated sitcom The Simpsons, has died at the age of 59.
Simon’s death was announced earlier today (9 March), he had battled colorectal cancer since 2012 and was thought to have just months to live at the time of its diagnosis.
“@thesimpsons #everysimpsonsever Just heard terrible news of death of @simonsam. A great man; I owe him everything,” The Simpson’s Executive Producer Al Jean (@AlJean)
Simon developed The Simpsons with Matt Groening and James L. Brooks in 1989, with the main characters created by Groening previously seeing an airing on The Tracy Ullman Show in a series of shorts from 1987. Simon served as executive producer alongside Groening and Brooks as well as showrunner of the first two seasons, creative supervisor of the first four and leading the writing staff.
His association with The Simpsons ended in 1993 following a rift with Groening, however he continued to receive an Executive Producer credit and a share of the profits. Set in the fictional town of Springfield, The Simpsons revolves around the dysfunctional title family comprising of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie and parodies American culture, society, politics and history. Simon’s work on the series saw him receive seven Emmy Awards.
A keen animal rights activist, Simon launched a non-profit foundation to train rescue dogs to assist the disabled in 2002.
“It is with much sadness that we must let you know that Sam Simon has passed over. We all miss him, and in his honor, we will continue bringing his vision to light through our work at The Sam Simon Foundation.” – The Sam Simon Foundation
Simon also worked as a writer and producer on a number of hit sitcoms including Taxi and Cheers and won nine Primetime Emmy Awards during his career. Following his cancer diagnosis he revealed an intention to donate all of his fortune to charity.
The Simpsons, which airs on Channel 4 and Sky 1 in the UK, is regularly voted one of the best television programmes of all time with the family also topping ‘TV family’ polls.