Sam Simon, the co-creator of The Simpsons, an animal rights advocate and philanthropist died at his Palisades, California home Sunday at the age of 59 following a four-year struggle against colon cancer. He won nine Emmy awards in his career and helped launch The Simpsons, now in its 26th season. Simon, who was Jewish, donated his wealth to charities and established the Sam Simon Foundation for saving dogs and training many of them to help the blind and other handicapped people. He also funded a food bank in Los Angeles.
His career began with a script he submitted to ABC for its “Taxi” program. ABC liked it and later hired Simon. After other successes, such as “Cheers” on NBC and “The Tracey Ullman Show” on Fox, Simon, worked with James L. Brooks and cartoonist Matt Groening to create The Simpsons.
“With ‘The Simpsons,’ people didn’t know what they were gonna see,” Simon once said. “They didn’t have a clue.” The show was given time and free reign to flourish by the fledgling Fox network, which desperately needed a hit. “I don’t think you get that sort of creative freedom with any broadcast shows today.” He left The Simpsons team in 1994 with a fortune in royalties that earned several million dollars a year and which he donated for his foundation and other causes. “I have a desire to help animals,” Simon said in an interview with Reuters in 2014. “It’s my money and I get to do what I want with it. It’s an expensive hobby I picked up at the end of my life.”
Below is a video of some of the funniest moments on The Simpsons.