Prolific television writer and producer Sam Simon has passed away, Deadline is reporting. Simon succumbed to the colorectal cancer that he had been fighting since 2012. He was 59.
Simon began his career in television working on animated features such as Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids as a storyboard artist. Having an interest in writing as well, Simon submitted a spec script for the television show Taxi, which subsequently led to the hiring of him as a writer and eventual showrunner for the series’ final season, where he first worked with James L. Brooks.
His path through television led him to the writing rooms of other luminary TV shows such as Cheers, Barney Miller, and It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, ultimately leading him to be a writer and producer on The Tracey Ullman Show, where he once again worked with Brooks.
Simon, Brooks, and Matt Groening eventually worked together to make The Simpsons, which began as a series of short cartoons on The Tracey Ullman Show, into its own entity, with Simon serving as co-executive producer and co-showrunner for the first two seasons, and creative supervisor for the first four seasons before leaving the show in 1993.
Simon subsequently co-created The George Carlin Show before segueing into more of a directorial role for shows such as Friends and The Drew Carey Show. He most recently worked as a consultant and director on the FX series Anger Management.
He won nine Emmys over the course of his career, seven of them for his work on The Simpsons, and two of them for his work on The Tracey Ullman Show.