It was 28 years ago today, August 29th, 1983, when the world lost one of its greatest and most versatile character actors.
It seems surreal whenever I actually stop to think about it: Simon died three years before I was even born. (And there are other actors I admire who died many years before that.) He is deeply missed; 68 is far too young to die. Although, no matter whether he passed away in 1983 or 2010, the feeling of having lost someone special would persist.
It’s hard to fully know what to say without sounding trite or silly. But Simon’s memory lives on in every single role he played, every line he spoke, and every look he gave. He appeared in so very many productions through the years, some of them still highly beloved today, that I wouldn’t find it surprising if somewhere in the world, every day, someone is watching a character he brought to life. On any given day, someone could be viewing West Side Story or Psycho or Kolchak: The Night Stalker, or countless other entertainment in which Simon took part. It’s not every actor for which such statements could be made and actually have the chance of being true. But in general, everyone who watches old movies and television shows has a high chance of encountering Simon somewhere along the way. He has appeared at least once in almost every major genre: comedy, drama, Western, adventure, action, horror, musical, war, historical, science-fiction, fantasy, and crime. There’s something for everyone.
All who worked with Simon have described him as a thoroughly professional actor and a wonderful man. He was happily married for forty-plus years and fathered a daughter. And he touched Heaven knows how many lives with his performances, on stage, on film, and on television.
I post now and then on findagrave.com, to Simon’s page and others. For the time being, it is the only way I feel I can leave a message “to” him. But I like to think that someday I will be able to speak with him personally and tell him how much I have enjoyed his work.
You are, and ever will be, remembered and missed, Simon.