How a TV producer dying of cancer is using his wealth to leave the world in a better place than he found it. Best known for helping to bring The Simpsons to the world, Sam Simon is now spending his final days giving away his fortune.
In 1989, TV writer-producer-director Sam Simon helped bring The Simpsons to television. He left the show in 1993, but he was so instrumental in setting the show’s tone that he’s still list as an executive producer. Simon thought the show would go for a couple more years, but had no idea it would still be on the air—The Simpsons is currently in its 25th season. Result: Simon makes tens of millions off the show each year.
Sadly, the show will probably outlast Simon himself. Last year, Simon, 58, was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer. Doctors gave him three months to live, but Simon is still alive…and definitely kicking. He’s spending his final days giving away his fortune. (How big is his fortune, exactly? “I don’t know,” he told The Hollywood Reporter.) And befitting of a man who helped create an all-time classic TV comedy, he’s dispersing his wealth in creative ways to raise awareness of animal rights.
- He’s endowed the Malibu, California-based Sam Simon Foundation. It provides free meals to the hungry and the homeless…but only vegan meals.
- Simon gave so much to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) that the animal rights organization renamed its Virginia headquarters The Sam Simon Center.
- The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society aggressively fights illegal whaling and fishing around the world. It renamed one of its four tracking ships the M/Y Simon.
- A few weeks ago, a NASCAR driver and animal activist named Leilani Munter appeared on Simon’s radio show to drum up donations for her cause: She wanted to drive a car at a big NASCAR event set for May at the Talladega Speed Way, and that car would be adorned from bumper to bumper in advertisements for Blackfish, the controversial documentary that took a startling look behind the curtain at SeaWorld and other marine parks. Munter needed $115,000 for the race’s entry fee, and she’d only raised $7,500. Simon went ahead and gave her the rest of the money she needed.