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Rewrites A Memoir

Rewrites A Memoir

Written by Neil Simon

Narrated by Neil Simon


Rewrites A Memoir

Written by Neil Simon

Narrated by Neil Simon

ratings:
4.5/5 (2 ratings)
Length:
5 hours
Released:
Oct 1, 1996
ISBN:
9780743548441
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

Barefoot in the Park, The Odd Couple, The Sunshine Boys -- Neil Simon's plays and movies have kept many millions of people laughing for almost four decades. Today he is recognized not only as the most successful American playwright of all time, but also as one of the greatest.

More than the humor, however, it is the humanity of Neil Simon's vision that has made him America's most beloved playwright and earned him such enduring success. Now, in Rewrites, he has written a funny, deeply touching memoir, filled with details and anecdotes of the writing life and rich with the personal experiences that underlie his work. What the listener of this warm, nostalgic memoir discovers, however, is that the plays, although grounded in Neil Simon's own experience, provide only a glimpse into the mind and soul of this very private man.

Since Come Blow Your Horn first opened on Broadway in 1960, few seasons have passed without the appearance of another of his laughter-filled plays, and indeed on numerous occasions two or more of his works have been running simultaneously. But his success was something Neil Simon never took for granted, nor was the talent to create laughter something that he ever treated carelessly: it took too long for him to achieve the kind of acceptance -- both popular and critical -- that he craved, and the path he followed frequently was pitted with hard decisions.

Some of the supporting players in the memoir include Sid Caesar, Jerry Lewis, Walter Matthau, Robert Redford, Gwen Verdon, Bob Fosse, George C. Scott, and Mike Nichols. But always at center stage is his first love, his wife Joan, whose death in the early seventies devastated him, and whose love and inspiration illuminate this remarkable and revealing self-portrait.

Rewrites is rich in laughter and emotion, and filled with the memories of a sometimes sweet, sometimes bittersweet life.
Released:
Oct 1, 1996
ISBN:
9780743548441
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

About the author

Neil Simon is the writer of more than forty Broadway plays, including Barefoot in the Park, The Odd Couple, The Out-of-Towners, and Lost in Yonkers, which won the Pulitzer Prize.


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4.5
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  • (5/5)
    Neil Simon's memoir, REWRITES (1996), serves to support the theory that some of the best comedy is born of unhappiness and pain. Not that Simon really dwells on his childhood, but it does come out here and there how his father often deserted the family for months or more at a time, contributing little to their support, and this was during the hardest of times, the Great Depression.This is a book filled with varied and strange backstage stories and show biz anecdotes, peppered liberally with famous names. Mike Nichols figured prominently in Simon's success, garnering at least four Tony Awards as best director in the early years of Simon's career as a playwright. Maureen Stapleton was his favorite actress. The book's title is most apt, as Simon illustrates repeatedly how Broadway plays often survive solely because they can be constantly tweaked, rearranged, rewritten, and he was a shining example of a man able to think fast and "fix" a play that was floundering, often rewriting whole scenes in a corner during rehearsals. Even given his early success, Simon was a man prone to panic attacks and claustrophobia, the latter problem probably caused by a "mother who tied me with a rope to my high chair," an understanding reached through psychoanalysis. Simon tells of his 'mid-life' crisis, when he ALMOST made a terrible mistake (leaving his wife), but did not. And how he finally realized, after he turned forty, that "old people you know weren't always old ... They were once the way you are now, and inevitably you will eventually be like them, with others thinking you were always old." Some people never do figure this out, until it's too late.But REWRITES is, perhaps more than anything, a love story and a tribute to Simon's first wife, Joan, his strongest and most constant supporter, who died from cancer at age forty. Her final illness is described with such wrenching honesty that it left me nearly in tears.My only complaint, which really isn't one, is that it ends with Joan's death in 1973, when Simon was only forty-six, left with two young daughters, fifteen and ten. I couldn't help but wonder what happened then. (I checked Wikipedia and learned that Simon has been married three times since then.) But bottom line? This is a damn good book, a life story told well, honestly and unflinchingly.