It's been a sad 24 hours for Simpsons fans with news of the death of the show's co-creator Sam Simon breaking.


The 59 year old passed away peacefully following a long battle with cancer.

Simon was a noted writer, director and philanthropist, who did some rather interesting things both in the world of television and beyond. He was involved with The Simpsons from 1989 to 1993 and was credited with bringing sensibility to the show.

It was Simon, says The New York Times, who said they should write the show like a sitcom - with a team of writers. “If you leave out Sam Simon, you’re telling the managed version,” Jon Vitti, one of the show’s first writers, told the newspaper in 2001. “He was the guy we wrote for.”

To say he was quite the creative mind is an understatement. And here are 6 things you might not know about the man who helped bring Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie to your TV screens...

He gave us Treehouse of Horror sketch "The Raven"

According to the DVD commentary from Season 2 it was Simon who adapted the Edgar Allen Poe poem for the superb Treehouse of Horror segment. He was a little worried that it would be "too pretentious" for the show but luckily decided to give it a go.

He was involved in the American reboot of Men Behaving Badly

We may not be quite so thankful for this one but yes, indeed, Simon directed an episode of the ill-fated US remake of the British comedy back in 1997. The show, starring Rob Schnedier (he of The Hot Chick fame) and former boxer turned actor Ron Eldard only lasted two seasons.

He moonlighted as a boxing manager

It was Simon who helped guide Lamon Brewster to a surprise victory in the 2004 WBO heavyweight championship. The now retired boxer knocked out Ukranian champ Waldimir Klitschko to claim the title.

And you couldn't read his poker face has paid tribute to the man who was fairly handy with a deck of cards and reportedly had" $350,000 in lifetime live tournament earnings". Simon convinced a whole host of celebrity pals to play and star in a special show he produced for Playboy TV called Sam’s Game.

Simon was an animal rights activist, saving the lives of many dogs

He was a big dog lover so he set up The Sam Simon Foundation, which runs free mobile veterinary clinics for the pets of low-income families in Los Angeles. The Foundation's Assistance Dog program rescues dogs from shelters and humane societies to become hearing dogs for people who are deaf or hard of hearing and Service Dogs for Veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

And as if that wasn't enough, they also provide a dog adoption service to rehome unwanted pets.

And a gay Irish bull had reason to thank the Simpsons co-creator too

Benjy was due to be sent to the slaughter house because he was more interested in the other bulls than he was in mating with a heifer. Simon heard of his plight via PETA after Irish broadcaster RTE's Countrywide broke the news and decided he had to intervene.

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Benjy is safe! You saved him. Thanks to everyone who donated, thanks to Sam Simon and thanks to @TheGayUK #savebenjy

— John Carmody (@Irishveganboy) December 13, 2014

The #SaveBenjy fundraising campaign was trending on Twitter when Simon came to the rescue, offering to cover the full cost of sending the bull to the Hillside Animal Sanctuary in Norfolk.


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