TV writer and producer Sam Simon – co-creator of The Simpsons – has terminal colon cancer. What his he doing with the short few months he has left on this earth? What gives him pleasure?
Five months ago, the nine-time Emmy winner — whose post-Simpsons projects have included directing (The Drew Carey Show), hosting (the short-lived poker reality series Sam’s Game for Playboy TV) and consulting (currently on FX’s Anger Management) — was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer. He confirmed during a May 16 WTF With Marc Maron podcast that he was given the prognosis of three to six months to live and that he will donate nearly all of his sizable Simpsonsroyalties — which he has said earn him “tens of millions” annually — to charity.
It doesn’t matter that I question some of the causes he is supporting. The important point is that he is doing something. He isn’t waiting for government to take care of problems. He isn’t assuming others will step up. Simon makes a fascinating statement about Hollywood, by the way, when asked this question by The Hollywood Reporter.
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.
We don’t have to be wealthy to make a difference. Pick an issue and/or a charity and do something to help others. You never know when a seemingly small action that you take will end up transforming another person’s life or give someone the hope they need to push through hard times and follow their dreams.
Pray for Sam Simon.