Sam Simon was a television prodigy. He was just 25 when he became the showrunner for one of the greatest sitcoms in history, Taxi. (Imagine a 25-year-old running a show featuring Taxi stars Christopher Lloyd, Tony Danza, Judd Hirsch, Danny DeVito, Marilu Henner and Andy Kaufman.) Simon got the job through pure talent–by submitting a spec script. With a background in cartooning and a degree from Stanford, Simon developed The Simpsons in 1989 with James L. Brooks and Matt Groening. He didn’t last there–creative differences–but he still gets royalties from The Simpsons. “Tens of millions,” as he told NBC’s Maria Shriver.
Diagnosed with colon cancer, the 59-year-old Simon has been busy for two years giving away his fortune–all of it…Simon has outlived his initial prognosis. So as it turns out Bart Simpson is an accidental philanthropist. Because every time Bart Simpson made you laugh, Sam Simon got a dollar. And now he’s giving those hundreds of millions of dollars away to charity.