Sam Simon is fifty-eight years old. He is a co-creator of 'The Simpsons' and also worked on such hit comedies as 'The Drew Carey Show' and 'Anger Management' with Charlie Sheen. He also has been diagnosed with terminal colon cancer and has mere months left to live. In the face of this sentence, Simon has announced that he intends to leave his entire fortune--no meagre sum--to charity.
Simon claims he's uncertain about the full sum of his accumulated wealth, but admits he still earns "tens of millions" from royalties off 'The Simpsons' alone, each and every year. Simon never married; he does not have any children. He has already taken care of his friends and family and feels his fortune would be best served in the hands of a charitable organization. This sort of generosity is an extreme rarity anywhere on Earth, but it's even more astounding coming out of Hollywood, which commonly exhibits the antithesis of the charitable spirit.
Simon has been a philanthropist his entire life. He previously founded the Sam Simon Foundation which feeds starving people and dogs. He has donated hefty sums to PETA, Save the Children and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. So should we expect one of these organizations to receive the windfall of his fortune after his tragic passing? Simon recently spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about his intentions:
"The truth is," Simon began, "I have more money than I’m interested in spending. Everyone in my family is taken care of. And I enjoy this." When asked if he is frustrated about his diagnosis, he shared the following:
"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."
Still, Simon isn't about to hand wads of cash to just any organization; the man knows philanthropy and isn't afraid to call out some groups that are doing the bare minimum to perpetuate their existence. "If you were donating to environmental causes for the past 20 years, do you think your money is doing anything?" Simon charged. "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."
Simon’s doctors say he has only a few months left to live.