It was on this day 29 years ago that the world lost one of the greatest actors of all time. LuckyLadybug mentioned last year about how it seems strange to lament an actor gone before our time—I’ve gotten that before, too. It’s all too true that Simon passed away before I was born; how then, in a world where television and movies have taken a vastly different direction since the time Simon was on the screen, was he able to strike a chord with myself, as well as Ladybug? How can we both miss someone who never even existed at the same time we did?
I’ve pondered over this many a time—the numerous times when I get a blank look after naming Simon as one of my favorite actors. It seems to be the fate of a character actor—to have their faces known, but not their names. Simon even mentioned something along those lines in an interview about how people would often walk up to him and ask him if they knew him from somewhere, and how he believed that it was simply because people saw him on TV so much, people felt that they knew him.
And then I looked at that interview again, and it hit me. That’s it. That was it. It didn’t matter if he was before my time; seeing him on the screen, in his element, breathing life into people that were just so believable, they do seem so real… There’s a part of his spirit and soul in every character he brought to life, even the villains, which, in another interview, he had said that he tried to make them the slightest bit sympathetic—or, at the very least, give them hidden depths.
It is through Simon’s many characters that it felt as though I had gotten to know him as a person. Only I wouldn’t be making the same mistake as those people who would idly think they knew him from somewhere and just couldn’t place him. No; I’d be the shy, awed fan who would truly be able to appreciate the talent and genius of a brilliant actor and Renaissance man who deserves far, far more credit than he ever received.
That overdue credit is one of the main reasons why, last year, LuckyLadybug and I decided to put this blog and website together—because we couldn’t find any tribute sites to Simon already in existence, and we determined that just would not do.
And while we wish that Simon had not left this world before our time—that he’d have lived long enough to hear that there were two fans of his determined to ensure that his name is not forgotten—there’s a part of me that wants to believe that, somehow… he knows. Even before watching Kolchak, I’d always believed that the line between this world and the next was not an impassable, one-way barrier—that those on the other side can still be aware of what goes on here.
And I’d like to think that every time Luckyladybug and I make a post here, update the website, or excitedly discuss with each other about the latest role of his we’ve discovered, somewhere on the other side, Simon just shakes his head and gives a good-natured chuckle, thinking, There they go again.
It’s a thought that manages to make me smile, even as I miss him.