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Neil Simon

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Playwright

"So there I sat at the party drinking anything they put before me. I was completely stunned, not from liquor but from emotion. I knew how it felt to be drunk but I didn't know how to feel success. Was there something inside of me which allowed me to enjoy my moment but not be elated or overcome with it? I had been taught somewhere in my background that Jews did not gather around a campfire talking about the possessions they had with them, for they would surely be gone in the morning.

"You did not boast about your good fortune because God would certainly punish a boaster. I was not overly religious, in fact hardly religious at all, but your culture, by osmosis, or what you hear around the dinner table as a boy, brands fears and superstitions into your mind forever."

Excerpted from the biography of the playwright Neil Simon, Neil Simon Rewrites, in which he recalls his feelings after the opening of his smash hit play Barefoot in the Park. (quote found at British Columbia Humanist Association site)



Suggesting that he should be removed:

On page 64 of his book THE PLAY GOES ON, he says: "I am neither an agnostic nor an atheist. I am, as a matter of fact, a Jew and although Jews are devoted in their belief in God, they are not above asking pesky questions sometimes."