Late last year, a man who is responsible for some of the funniest moments on television was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer. We know the nine-time Emmy winner Sam Simon as the force behind hit TV shows like Taxi, Cheers, The George Carlin Show, The Drew Carey Show, and most notably The Simpsons.
Sam Simon developed The Simpsons with Matt Groening and James L. Brooks in 1989. Ken Levine, who was a writer on the show, credits Simon with making The Simpsons the show we all know and love. In an article in Stanford Magazine, Ken shares, “Is it too bizarre to say he made cartoon characters three-dimensional? His comedy is all about character, not just a string of gags. In The Simpsons, the characters are motivated by their emotions and their foibles. ‘What are they thinking?’—that is Sam’s contribution. The stories come from the characters.”
When he left the hit show he negotiated a deal that maintained his executive producer credit in addition to giving him a share of the profits of the series every year. Now that he has, according to doctors, only months to live, the writer, producer, and philanthropist has only one thing on his mind: he wants to give away his millions to charity.
His first wife, actress Jennifer Tilly, spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about Simon’s decision to give away his millions, “I think it’s really nice for him that he’s doing it now and he gets to see the results of his philanthropy. He really does have a passion to survive, and the longer he’s on the earth, the more good work he can do.”
Already Sam Simon is watching his life’s work make a difference in the world. He is seeing it. Much of his money will go to fighting hunger-related causes, as well as to animal charities. He has funded a mobile Veterinary Clinic in Los Angeles, established an organization that helps bring pets to assisted living facilities, and his Feeding Families program not only feeds humans but pets in hunger crisis.
In a powerful interview with Simon, Hollywood Reporter’s Gary Baum asks, “Do you get frustrated with bad things happening to good people? Like, why didn’t someone else get this cancer?”
Simon’s answer amazed me, his entire outlook is amazing, to be honest. “No. I don’t think that’s what karma is. It never crossed my mind.”
I wish Sam and his extended family and loved ones much peace as they navigate these next months.
Image Credit: Wikipedia, PR Photos
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