Sam Simon may not be known to many of you, but to those of you that held The Simpsons close to your chest like a broadcast teddybear, you know full well whom this man is. If Matt Groening birthed the Simpsons from his cerebral womb, Sam Simon was an adopted father to it. He helped to grow and nurture it, and fought with the television industry to ensure it was taken seriously by all demographics that could watch it. For people of my generation it was a cultural conductor. Laced throughout with sharp and witty humor (back in the “golden age” at least) subtly referencing many cultural icons, thus offering my mind flags for things I might later encounter. “Oh, the Simpsons referenced that in this episode, may be worth checking out”. Growing up as an only child, I had no one telling me what movies and such were cool or not, so I appreciated what the Simpsons did for me. I appreciated the sharp well thought out humor that didn’t necessarily try to slap me in the face with dumb jokes. I appreciated the grounded life lessons it always seemed to teach.
This show has seeped into the DNA of my consciousness, and I would be an altogether different person without it. My generation would be unrecognizable, cultural development as a whole would have veered on to a much different path in its absence. The fact is, without Sam Simon’s presence, the world would be a much different place. Not just with the show either, but with the countless animal charities he helped with the millions he earned from the show, with all those touched by the entirety of his fortune he gave away in the wake of his cancer diagnosis. The man was a stand-up human being. I will truly mourn his passing.
Read more about Simon in this wonderful New York Times article.