Sam Simon Creates The Simpsons


Sam Simon, Stanford ’75, was an American director, producer, writer, boxing manager, and philanthropist. While at Stanford University, Simon worked as a newspaper cartoonist and, after graduating, became a storyboard artist at Filmation Studios. He submitted a spec script for the sitcom Taxi, which was produced, and later became the series showrunner. Over the next few years, Simon wrote and produced for Cheers, It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, and other programs, as well as writing the 1991 film The Super.

In 1989, Simon developed the animated sitcom The Simpsons with Matt Groening and James L. Brooks. Simon assembled the show’s first writing team, co-wrote eight episodes, and has been credited with “developing [the show’s] sensibility.” The Simpsons premiered on the Fox network in 1989 and has remained on the air ever since. The show is regarded as one of the greatest television shows of all time, with TIME magazine naming it the 20th century’s best series. In addition, it is the longest-running sitcom in television history.

Simon left the show in 1993. The following year he co-created The George Carlin Show before later working as a director on shows such as The Drew Carey Show. Simon won nine Primetime Emmy Awards for his television work.

Mr. Simon put his money toward his passions. He started a foundation that trained dogs to help disabled people, including veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He gave generously to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, among other groups. As a result, PETA’s headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia, was renamed the Sam Simon Center in 2013.

After Mr. Simon learned he had cancer, he announced his intention to give nearly all his “Simpsons” royalties to charity. “I’ve given most of it away,” he said in 2013 when asked about his wealth on the comedian Marc Maron’s podcast. “I won’t be rich again until we get our quarterly installment from The Simpsons. ”