Hollywood and animal lovers are honoring the life and legacy of The Simpsons‘ co-creator Sam Simon who died today following a very public battle with cancer at the age of 59. The nine-time Emmy winner (he co-shared seven for The Simpsons) produced Cheers and Taxi before he co-developed the iconic animated series The Simpsons with Matt Groening and Al Jean in 1989. Later in life, he devoted much of his energy and resources to animal causes worldwide through The Sam Simon Foundation. Here is a sampling of the reactions. We’ll be updating throughout the day.
Conan O’Brien, TV Host/Early Simpsons Producer:
Simpsons Creator/Executive Producer Matt Groening:
“We will miss Sam’s phenomenal talents, sharp intelligence, and sly sense of humor. He is gone from our industry too soon.”
Simpsons Executive Producer James L. Brooks:
“He was truly one of the great ones. He found so much outside the work to give him pleasure and left so much behind for others.”\
Hank Azaria, Actor/Producer/Comedian:
Simpsons Executive Producer Al Jean:
“He was a genius and a great humanitarian in ways public and private. I personally owe him more than can be repaid, but I will do my best to help every animal I can in his memory.”
Fox Television Group:
“Sam helped establish the tone and world of The Simpsons in the early years of this landmark series, and his contributions live on. His philanthropy was well-known and a source of inspiration for many. We are deeply saddened by his passing.”
Matt Selman, Writer/Producer:
Jennifer Tilly, Simon’s ex-wife, Actress
“Sam was my best friend for 30 years. He was a brilliant man and a great humanitarian. I miss him terribly.”
Taran Killam, Actor:
Ari Solomon, Mercy for Animals’ director of communications, who co-hosted a weekly radio show with Simon.
“To know Sam was to love Sam. He was a true hero and inspiration and his legacy will live on through all of us working towards a kinder, more compassionate world. Words can’t express how much we’ll miss him.”
Carly Aquilino, Comedian:
Nathan Runkle, Mercy for Animals President:
“Sam was a heroic humanitarian whose selfless generosity and boundless courage inspired countless people around the world to be kinder to animals-and each other. His heart was as great as his sense of humor. He never missed an opportunity to speak up for those in need. Sam led by example and showed us all what bravery, kindness, and determination truly were. A more compassionate future draws ever more near because of his legacy of generosity.”
Ingrid Newkirk, PETA President:
“I think Sam died with a smile on his face, knowing that elephants were on their way out of the circus, something that, together with the closure of SeaWorld, he dreamt of and talked about all the time. He said the last two years of his life, since his diagnosis, were his happiest, as he used them to help animals who had nothing, and it gave him great joy to see chimpanzees, elephants, and even a “gay” bull find freedom from harm because he had worked with PETA to get them all out of hideous circumstances. One day, people will realize that Sam knew what PETA says is right: “Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way.” I hope everyone who knew Sam or hears about his great kindness to veterans, to animals, and to all will do something kind themselves in his honor. It’s a very sad day for us at the Sam Simon Center, PETA’s Norfolk, Virginia, headquarters.”
Morgan Spurlock, Documentarian/TV Host:
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