Author Topic: Terminally Ill 'Simpsons' Co-Creator Vows to Give Away Fortune (but you'd better like vegan food)  (Read 303 times)

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Online mountaineer

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Yahoo reposting Hollywood Reporter story.

Called both "brilliantly funny" and "mentally unbalanced" by Simpsons co-creator Matt Groening, television writer-producer Sam Simon, 58, has become known throughout Hollywood for his philanthropy since leaving the iconic animated series in 1993 (he retained a highly lucrative executive producer title). A Stanford grad who grew up in Beverly Hills and Malibu -- and rose in the industry at a young age to become the showrunner of Taxi at 24 -- Simon confesses, "I don't know," when it comes to estimating his charitable donations to date.

His contributions include founding the Malibu-based Sam Simon Foundation (worth nearly $23 million as of 2011) that rescues the hungry (humans -- but with vegan foods only) and strays (dogs, of any variety). His other pet charities include PETA, which in February thanked him for his support by naming its Norfolk, Va., headquarters the Sam Simon Center; international nonprofit Save the Children; and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, a global marine conservation organization. His contributions led it to name one of the four ships in its fleet of vessels, used to hinder whaling and illegal fishing, the M/Y Simon in 2012. He also turned a Malibu spread into a canine haven that rescues dogs from kill shelters and trains them as companions for the deaf.

Five months ago, the nine-time Emmy winner -- whose post-Simpsons projects have included directing (The Drew Carey Show), hosting (the short-lived poker reality series Sam's Game for Playboy TV) and consulting (currently on FX's Anger Management) -- was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer. He confirmed during a May 16 WTF With Marc Maron podcast that he was given the prognosis of three to six months to live and that he will donate nearly all of his sizable Simpsons royalties -- which he has said earn him "tens of millions" annually -- to charity. (Simon's marriages to Jennifer Tilly and Playboy Playmate Jami Ferrell were childless, or child-free, depending on your point of view.) "I think it's really nice for him that he's doing it now and he gets to see the results of his philanthropy," says Tilly. "He really does have a passion to survive, and the longer he's on the earth, the more good work he can do." On July 1, Simon spoke frankly to THR about what goes on in the mind of someone who has much to give but not a lot of time to give it. ...

THR: Do you get frustrated with bad things happening to good people? Like, why didn't someone else get this cancer?

Simon: No. I don't think that's what karma is. It never crossed my mind. But I don't think the spirit of Hollywood is such a spirit of generosity. I think people really begrudge giving. In New York, it's like that. A lot of charities spend a million dollars on a fundraiser to make $15,000. It's a social swirl. They do some great stuff and then -- it's called mission drift. It becomes more about the parties. You know, I'm not married, and I don't have kids. I had an emergency operation when I was septic, and I really did come very close to dying. My colon cancer perforated my colon. When I woke up in the hospital, even though I did have a will, it did become that much more important to me to set this stuff up for the future. And the Rockefeller Foundation has consultants who have been amazing. We found fantastic trustees. It's something that will be living after I'm gone.

THR: You said to Marc Maron on his podcast that you've been aggressive about the giving you've done, that you are giving most of all you can give. At what point did you feel morally compelled to go all the way?

Simon: One thing is, I get pleasure from it. I love it. I don't feel like it is an obligation. One of the things about animal rights, which is not the only thing that I care about in this world, is that your money can bring success. I see results. There is stuff happening, really good stuff, every week. I'm not sure you get that with a lot of disease charities. If you were donating to environmental causes for the past 20 years, do you think your money is doing anything? Because I don't, and I used to support some conservationist stuff -- Sierra Club, World Wildlife Fund. They're treading water. Climate change is a big part of their problem. The environment has been destroyed, basically.

THR: What change do you want to see in the world?

Simon: I want medical experiments on animals stopped. They don't do anything, and they don't work. Veganism is an answer for almost every problem facing the world in terms of hunger and climate change. It helps people's health. Meat is the biggest greenhouse gas producer. There's also the cruelty and suffering aspect. When people do meatless Mondays, and when people adopt instead of buying a dog, that's a PETA victory.

THR: Do people ask why you don't give to another cause?

Simon: Of course. The food bank -- we distribute at the Tom Bradley Center on Pico and then further down off of Koreatown south of the 10 -- is the one where we feed 200 families a day, and they go, "That's great!" Then I say that it's cruelty-free vegan food, and they go: "Ohhh. I see. What if the people aren't vegan?" I tell them then they can go eat at your food bank. ...

My head hurts. Must be the climate change.
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Offline jmyrlefuller

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Hmm... Mr. Simon might want to rethink his logic, because if he is supposed to be morally consistent, he must encourage the extinction of the most invasive species on the planet: humanity. Surely the increase in population from under a billion up through 7 billion in the past couple centuries alone, with all of them exhaling CO2 and most burning fossil fuels, must be one of the causes of all this environmental chaos, according to his logic.

Either that, or he just has a lust for power and inflluence, which I suspect is more likely.
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