Danny’s success at being a writer inspired others to hire him to direct in theatres around the country. He brought down the house in Plaza Suite with Carol Burnett and George Kennedy and he took a play he wrote and directed, Catch a Star, to the Broadway stage.When a friend asked him to come and talk to his comedy writing class, Danny was “very nervous because I never went to college and I was sure the students would laugh at me.” Indeed, they laughed. But not at him. Instead Danny became a popular comedy writing teacher, traveling to locations around the world to teach at colleges and training institutes. Now, that he’s moved to Portland, his one regret is that he had to discard over 2000 adoring letters from his students. Though there was'n’t enough space in his apartment at the Rose Schnitzer Manor, for the letters, there’s plenty of room for accolades. Like the one from Woody Allen who said, “I learned a few things on my own since, and modified some of the things he taught me, but I learned about comedy writing, unequivocally, from Danny Simon.” Danny knew the secret of comedy. He used to say that you should “write with the sense of humor you were born with.” He loved Everybody Loves Raymond because the show’s humor came from the personalities and was then stretched. The best comedy is exaggerated truth that fits the character. Everything starts with the truth.”With a twinkle in his eye and a charming smile, the Danny used to say that this comedy writing technique worked for his brother, too saying “Neil writes about people he knew and understood and he is much funnier that I am...he has a brilliant sense of humor.” The brother’s success doesn’t come from one liners. Theirs is a brand of humor that emerges from characters who tell outrageous, yet believable stories.
Ernest Borgnine, Don Rickles, Vivian Vance...the list goes on and on. But Danny is not content to rest on his very many accomplishments, he’s busy at work, starting a senior theatre company in the retirement home. He has many good actors to choose from because Phil Silver’s cousin and others who love performing also live there. Whatever happens with the theatre company, Danny is happy. In his understated, writer-type of way, he says, “It’s been a nice life.” Thanks, Danny, for adding so much humor to ours. Thanks, Danny for being the very best teacher that I ever had. I will keep your principles alive.