Sam Simon, who helped create The Simpsons and continues to earn “tens of millions” of dollars each year from royalties generated by the show, is dying from colon cancer.
Doctors say he has less than six months to live.
Here’s the part of his story we especially want to pass along: When he’s gone, the 58-year-old writer and producer says, his Simpsons royalties will go to charity. The donations will come on top of the millions he’s given away since striking it rich as a younger man.
“His contributions include founding the Malibu-based Sam Simon Foundation (worth nearly $23 million as of 2011) that rescues the hungry (humans — but with vegan foods only) and strays (dogs, of any variety). His other pet charities include PETA, which in February thanked him for his support by naming its Norfolk, Va., headquarters the Sam Simon Center; international nonprofit Save the Children; and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, a global marine conservation organization. His contributions led it to name one of the four ships in its fleet of vessels, used to hinder whaling and illegal fishing, the M/Y Simon in 2012. He also turned a Malibu spread into a canine haven that rescues dogs from kill shelters and trains them as companions for the deaf.”
Simon, whose other TV projects have included The Drew Carey Show and Anger Management, has no children and isn’t now married. He says he isn’t sure how much the royalties will be worth to charities after he’s gone, but that it will be a lot.
In an interview with the Reporter, he’s asked about what’s happened to him and the decision to give away his money:
“THR: Do you get frustrated with bad things happening to good people? Like, why didn’t someone else get this cancer?
“Simon: No. I don’t think that’s what karma is. It never crossed my mind. But I don’t think the spirit of Hollywood is such a spirit of generosity. I think people really begrudge giving. In New York, it’s like that. A lot of charities spend a million dollars on a fundraiser to make $15,000. It’s a social swirl. They do some great stuff and then — it’s called mission drift. It becomes more about the parties. You know, I’m not married, and I don’t have kids. I had an emergency operation when I was septic, and I really did come very close to dying. My colon cancer perforated my colon. When I woke up in the hospital, even though I did have a will, it did become that much more important to me to set this stuff up for the future. And the Rockefeller Foundation has consultants [Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors] who have been amazing. We found fantastic trustees. It’s something that will be living after I’m gone.”
Back in May, Simon talked at length about all this on the WTF with Marc Maron podcast (for the record, there’s a considerable amount of “adult” language during that interview).