Neil Simon honored with Twain Prize

June 15, 2006 at 10:48 PM

NEW YORK, June 15 (UPI) -- Neil Simon, who has written more than 40 Broadway plays, has been selected as this year's recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.

The Twain Award announced Wednesday will be given to Simon, 78, on Oct. 15 at a ceremony at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, the Washington Post reported.

"Neil Simon, like Mark Twain, has a unique way of exposing the American spirit by drawing on experiences in his own life and creating insightful and touching portraits," said Kennedy Center Chairman Stephen A. Schwarzman.

One of Simon's most famous plays, "The Odd Couple," is the story of two mismatched male friends who room together. Walter Matthau and Art Carney acted in the original Broadway production, which was later adapted for film and television.

Simon grew up in the Bronx and bases many of his plays in New York's boroughs. He began writing for television in the 1950s for "Your Show of Shows," and for Broadway in the 1960s with "Come Blow Your Horn."

Simon has won a Pulitzer Prize, three Academy Awards and two Tony Awards.

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