Well, Google is still being belligerent. Now it's not letting Crystal sign in to our shared account to post, so I will put up her tribute for her. Hers was ready even before today, and mine was ready this morning. It is very discouraging that Google has been so stubborn about us using our own account!
Here we are, once again, on the anniversary of Simon’s birthday, and a very special one—his centennial! Trying to come up with something special for today has been a challenge, but one that I’ve been ready to take on.
Ladybug and I have talked a lot about Simon’s acting abilities in past entries. And as wonderful an actor as Simon is, I wanted this post to be about Simon the person, rather than just Simon the actor. Naturally, this was more than a little difficult to find out, due to an inconvenient lack of a TARDIS, but I’ve been able to gather somewhat of a portrait from some archive newspaper interviews that Ladybug and I have found (and all are available for reading as links on our website).
One thing that was evident in the interviews was Simon’s sense of humor. There’s an article where he relates the numerous times that, as a character actor, people recognize his face but not his name, instead thinking that they met him somewhere before. After relating the stories, he then goes on to say that he still enjoys them, whether or not the person in question ever figures it out. The interviewers are always quick to describe Simon as friendly and approachable—indeed, he must have been, for so many people to just walk up to him and casually start chatting about where they’ve “seen” him before!
And, of course, Simon talked at length about the actor’s craft, like how he studies the different facets of their personalities and then portrays them as such. He described the kinds of roles he likes, and how he will be choosy about them, saying in a 1967 interview that he was “…More interested in getting the right roles than anything else.” He went on to describe the “right roles” as the memorable ones—which says something about what he must have thought of Tony Vincenzo, as it was a role he would revisit multiple times in the 70s.
More than one of the article writers had pointed out about Simon’s opinions on TV violence. Simon saw it as a necessary outlet—that it was better for people to deal with their inner anger through that fictional medium, rather than something real. And though he was aware about the criticisms of TV violence (even getting into a discussion with Jack Lord about whether or not the violence in Psycho led to a real-life case of someone getting killed in a shower), he continued to stand by his views, insisting that it should be realistic enough to make people think before enacting anything in real life, as well as giving young viewers enough of a scare to make sure they won’t try anything of the kind. Something about this makes me think that if Simon had lived long enough to see the rise of video games in the late 80s and beyond, he probably would have had the same opinions about them, as well; and, who knows—he might have even lent his voice to a character or two.
Gathering all that about Simon from four interviews took a lot of looking just to find them. There aren’t that many interviews about him—and one of the article writers points out that it is largely due to how humble Simon is, even adding that, in the middle of the interview, Simon would much rather talk about the other people he’d met and work with, rather than just talking about himself.
All in all, the portrait that I’ve managed to put together from these interviews is of a humble, good-natured, and intelligent person who enjoyed what he did, even if he didn’t always get recognition for it. And while I feel bad that this recognition that Ladybug and I are giving him now is too late for him to read, we both feel very strongly that he still knows exactly what we’re trying to say.
Happy Birthday, Simon. And thank you for everything that you gave us during your time here.
~ Crystal Rose