A look back at this day in film history
July 04
July 4, 1927
Neil Simon born

Born on Independence Day, Neil Simon would grow up to be one American’s quintessential comic playwright.  Born in the Bronx, raised in Washington Heights, New York City, Simon early on got in touch with the many rhythms of life and speech that make up New York. As a teen, he started writing joke for radio shows with his older brother. When he returned home from World War II, Simon joined up with his brother again, crafting gags for early television revues like Sid Caesar's Your Show of Shows and The Phil Silvers Show. But in 1960, he shifted direction, trying his hand at writing plays. The next year, his comedy Come Blow Your HornThe Odd Couple and Barefoot in the Park. As one of the most successful playwrights in the 60s and 70s, Simon was hired to also adapt his theatrical work to film. In 1970, with the Out of Towners however, he wrote his first film-only screenplay.  While he would often reserve many of his most personal stories for the stage, he still created brilliant and hilarious work, like Murder by Death and The Goodbye Girl, for the screen.

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July 4, 1885
Louis Mayer born

Although he was born on the fourth of July, studio mogul Louis B. Mayer (née Lazar Meir) began his life in Minsk, Russia. By 1889, his family moved to New York, then Canada, then back to America.

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4 July 1896
Maxim Gorky, Film Reviewer

The Russian writer Maxim Gorky, whose radical politics and heartfelt coverage of the life of worker Russians drew comparisons with Zola, became on this day in 1896 one of the very first film reviewers.

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