Neil Simon is an American playwright and screenwriter. He has written over thirty plays and nearly the same number of movie screenplays, most adapted from his plays. He has received more combined Oscar and Tony nominations than any other writer.
He grew up in New York during the Great Depression, with his parents' financial hardships affecting their marriage, and giving him a mostly unhappy and unstable childhood. He often took refuge in movie theaters where he enjoyed watching the early comedians like Charlie Chaplin, which inspired him to become a comedy writer. After a few years in the Army Air Force Reserve after graduating high school, he began writing comedy scripts for radio and some popular early television shows. Among them were The Phil Silvers Show and Sid Caesar's Your Show of Shows in 1950, where he worked alongside other young writers including Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks and Selma Diamond.
He began writing his own plays beginning with Come Blow Your Horn, which took him three years to complete and ran for 678 performances on Broadway.