eCREATIVE MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 2016 - Page 20

eCREATIVE After leaving United Artists, David landed a series of exclusive, multi-year development studio deals, the first with Walt Disney Studios. “My only regret about working at Disney is that I didn’t take stocks in lieu of a salary. If I had, I’d be a multimillionaire today,” he said. At Universal, Simon worked on several television series. If one had a pilot episode, he wrote a back up script if it was picked up. “I was all of 24 and I had a secretary, an office, and a deal to develop sitcoms.” According to Simon, “after getting away with all that murder and abusing his expense account,” he teamed up with Broadway/soap opera star Leslie Ann Ray, and for the next eighteen years worked on some of Hollywood’s highest-rated sitcoms. “Suddenly I’m sitting with [producer] Gerry Abrams (director JJ Abrams’ father), the guys who did McMillan and Wife and Columbo; and Anne Beatts, one of the founding writers of Saturday Night Live learning how to write sitcoms.” At Columbia, Simon worked on top-rated comedies that included Charles in Charge, Full House, and The Royal Family, starring Redd Foxx and Della Reese. That work was cut short when Foxx collapsed and died on the set. “Everyone thought Foxx was doing a bit “There was no line in the sand between blacks and whites on the Fresh Prince set. Only a lot of love.” from Sanford and Son when he was actually gripping his chest because he was having a massive coronary.” Simon was a co-creator of The Wayans and served as Consulting Producer on Mad About You, starring Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt. During his free time, he wrote feature projects for actors, including John Travolta and Kevin Costner. He was Executive Producer of Sister, Sister starring Tia and Tamera Mowry, and The Fresh Prince of BelAir starring an 18 year-old Will Smith. “Will was the most intuitive, naturally talented kid I ever worked with,” noted Simon. “There was some ray of sunshine over this guy.”