Editor’s note: Sam Simon died at his home in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles on Sunday, March 8, 2015. He will be remembered for his creative spirit, generosity and love of animals.
Nine-time Emmy winner Sam Simon is famous for his work on the Simpsons television show, but to the countless people and animals he's helped through his charity work, Sam is best known for his dedication to helping others. While many celebrities make donations to their favorite causes, you can tell that Sam's philanthropy has become an important part of his life.
Tragically, Sam was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer earlier this year. He since announced plans to donate nearly all of his Simpsons royalties to charity, thought to be in the tens of millions of dollars annually. Sam says that everyone in his family is taken care of and he loves to be able to use his money to make a difference.
While Sam's decision got a lot of media buzz, this final gift is only part of the legacy that he will leave behind. Over the last decade, Sam has been tireless in his dedication to helping people and animals.
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In 2002, he created the Sam Simon Foundation which runs pet visitation programs at nursing homes, trains shelter pups to be service dogs, and funds a mobile veterinary truck that offers free non-orthopedic surgeries. The organization even runs a vegan food bank for human families in need.
Sam has also been a longtime supporter of PETA, Save the Children, and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. His support of the latter recently funded four ships now being used to hinder whaling and illegal fishing.
Sam first got involved with animal rights initiatives after trying to change a greyhound racing episode of The Drew Carey Show. Since he couldn't get the writer to edit the script, Sam decided to donate the money he earned from the episode to PETA in order to make a statement about dog racing. Sam teamed up with PETA again after his diagnosis to buy out zoos and circuses. His dream was to see these animals walk on grass for the first time.
Sam will be missed for both his talent and compassion for others, but he will live on through the philanthropic initiatives he's put in place. We certainly need more celebrities like Sam in the world!