(CNN) Neil Simon operated in a space few writers could, successfully navigating the formidable gaps that separate the worlds of theater, movies and TV in a manner that established him as one of the most influential comedy writers of the 20th century. Although the stage was his preferred medium, almost everything Simon wrote — from “The Odd Couple” to the semi-autobiographical “Brighton Beach Memoirs” trilogy, from “Barefoot in the Park” to “The Sunshine Boys” — found its way to the screen.

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