LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Sam Simon was no stranger to giving back and benefiting the community.
He made millions laugh for decades, writing for shows including “The Drew Carey Show” and “Cheers,” and co-creating the monumental hit show “The Simpsons.” Indeed, some would say his comedy was charity enough for the public.
Simon, however, who passed away Sunday after a two-year battle with cancer, believed he had much more to give through charities.
“My passion for the animals and against animal abuse is based on the knowledge that these creatures that feel and think can’t speak for themselves,” Simon said in an interview with Maria Shriver in 2014.
Friends of the late writer say that he was a man who wanted to change the world and that he went about it in a way that was anything but conventional. They say Simon’s cancer diagnosis emboldened him to do even more for the causes he cared about, and his fortune allowed him to stretch the boundaries to do so.
Whether it was rescuing bears or saving dolphins from slaughter in Japan, Simon, who was protesting as recently as a few weeks ago during the World Day for dolphins, left a large legacy of benevolence.
Radio co-host and close friend Ari Solomon was by Simon’s side as he passed and says he never knew a strength like he saw in the famed television producer.
“Sam was one of the strongest people I knew,” Solomon said. “It’s almost like the diagnosis emboldened him to do more. It really fueled his activism.”
When Simon was told he did not have long to live, he became more aggressive about giving away millions of dollars of his fortune to animal and children’s charities.
Celebrities who knew Simon or simply respected him took to Twitter to share their grief at his passing. Larry King tweeted: “Rest in Peace Sam Simon. Your impact on television and the world will not be forgotten.”
Simon’s former wife, actress Jennifer Tilly, wrote: “Sam was always there for me for 30 years. He was a brilliant man and a great humanitarian. I miss him terribly.”
Solomon and Tilly will host a radio show dedicated to Simon from Simon’s home on Friday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Those interested in listening to the live stream of the show can do so by clicking here.