Among the many things nine-time Emmy Award-winning comedy writer, producer and philanthropist Sam Simon did after receiving his terminal cancer diagnosis was to fund and participate in actions which enabled bears confined in closed bear pits to move to a sanctuary. Mr. Simon also assisted in rescuing and finding sanctuaries or homes for chimpanzees from roadside zoos, an elephant, chinchillas, a camel, and a bull. “I just wanted to have some days where I get to see animals walk in grass for the first time,” he told the Hollywood Reporter. These were among many of Mr. Simon’s ongoing efforts to make the world a better place for animals and people. Expressing his love for our fellow beings, Mr. Simon said that animals are not for us to eat, wear, use in entertainment, perform medical experiments on, or abuse in any way.
An immensely creative man noted for his brilliant sense of humor, Sam Simon worked in Hollywood on many popular television programs, including two children’s animated shows and television sitcoms Taxi, Cheers and The Drew Carey Show. He is most famous as a co-creator of the animated television series The Simpsons, which was named by Time Magazine as the best television show of the 20th Century.
Premiering in 1989, The Simpsons continues to air on TV to this day and is noted for both its reflection of and contribution to American culture.
Vegetarian since the age of 19 and a vegan since 2005, Mr. Simon reduced his involvement in the entertainment business in his thirties to have more time for other interests, ultimately focusing on improving the lives of animals and people. In 2002, he established The Sam Simon Foundation in Malibu, California, USA to rescue dogs. The TV show 60 Minutes referred to the foundation, which includes beautiful grounds and waterfalls, as the “grandest dog shelter in the country.”
The Sam Simon Foundation began rescuing dogs from shelters to train them to be service dogs, including dogs for the deaf and service dogs for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). For those canines who were not well-suited to becoming service dogs, his foundation established an adoption program, enabling the dogs to be placed in forever-loving homes. It also offers a free mobile clinic, performing spaying, neutering and surgeries in the Los Angeles area for dogs whose human companions have low incomes.
In 2011, Mr. Simon established the Feeding Families program to provide free nutritious vegan food to individuals and families who are having a difficult time providing food for themselves, their families and their animal companions. He has also been a long-term supporter of many animal rights groups.
After the cancer diagnosis in 2012, Mr. Simon vowed to donate his fortune, including ongoing sizeable royalty checks from The Simpsons, to charity. He worked with consultants to ensure his continued financial support of The Sam Simon Foundation and causes he believes in, long after his passing. Benefactors include animal rights groups such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Mercy For Animals and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
In honor of Mr. Simon and his generous support for the welfare of animals, PETA named one of their headquarters after him in 2010 and Sea Shepherd named their fourth ship Sam Simon in 2012.
When asked about his philanthropy, he repeatedly told the press that giving his money away to help the lives of humans and animals is deeply gratifying to him. He told the Hollywood Reporter that he had already taken care of his family, and he enjoyed giving his money away. “I get pleasure from it. I love it. I don’t feel like it is an obligation.”
He also explained what changes he wants to see in the world, stating “I want medical experiments on animals stopped. They don’t do anything, and they don’t work. Veganism is an answer for almost every problem facing the world in terms of hunger and climate change.”
Sam Simon passed from this world on March 8, 2015 at his home in Pacific Palisades, California, surrounded by loved ones, including his cherished dog companion. He has touched and inspired many by his incredible creativity, humor, compassion, kindness, courage and philanthropy. We send our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones. May he rest in eternal comfort and peace.