Simpsons co-creator Sam Simon won't be around much longer to enjoy his fortune -- so he's giving it away to people and organizations who need it more than he does. Five months ago, the 58-year-old writer/producer was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer and told he had three to six months to live. Rather than wallow in what he couldn't do with his life, however, he started thinking about what he could do -- namely, donate the tens of millions of dollars he earns annually in Simpsons royalties to charity.
A known philanthropist -- his pet charities include PETA, Save the Children, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and the Sam Simon Foundation, which feeds the hungry and rescues stray dogs -- Simon first revealed his plans during a May 16 WTF With Marc Maron podcast. He later spoke with The Hollywood Reporter, noting that giving brings him joy amid the pain of his cancer diagnosis.
"You know, I'm not married, and I don't have kids," he explained to THR. (Simon is divorced from actress Jennifer Tilly and model Jami Ferrell.) "I had an emergency operation when I was septic, and I really did come very close to dying. My colon cancer perforated my colon. When I woke up in the hospital, even though I did have a will, it did become that much more important to me to set this stuff up for the future."
"I get pleasure from it. I love it," he shared. "I don't feel like it is an obligation. One of the things about animal rights, which is not the only thing that I care about in this world, is that your money can bring success. I see results. There is stuff happening, really good stuff, every week."
Simon, who co-created The Simpsons with cartoonist Matt Groening more than 20 years ago, left the Fox series in 1993 but has retained an executive producer title. More recently, he worked as a consultant on the Charlie Sheen comedy Anger Management.
"The truth is, I have more money than I'm interested in spending," he told THR. "Everyone in my family is taken care of. And I enjoy this."