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October 31, 2014

David Simon's Dad Dies at 89

by Laura Prudom, posted Apr 22nd 2010 2:45PM
Bernard Simon, father of HBO showrunner David Simon (pictured), has died of natural causes at the age of 89, the Washington Post is reporting.

After starting his career as a reporter for various New Jersey dailies, Mr. Simon served as public relations director of B'nai B'rith, the international Jewish service organization, for over 30 years, continuing to work at the company in varying positions into the '90s.

He died Tuesday at his home in Olney, his son confirmed.

Best known for creating acclaimed HBO shows 'The Wire' and 'Treme,' David Simon spoke fondly of his father in an email to the Post, reminiscing about Mr. Simon's character when his father was in the midst of editing his first book, 'Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets. "He tried to systematically delete every single profanity, even those in quotes. He could never be as blunt as the world often is," he recalled.His father's death comes amidst an already painful month for David Simon, following the death of his longtime friend and colleague David Mills, a writer for Simon's shows 'The Wire' and 'Treme' who died of a brain aneurysm on the set of the New Orleans-based drama.

As chief speechwriter and publicist for B'nail B'rith, Mr. Simon was instrumental in building the popularity and name recognition of the company, helping convert its staid in-house publication into a respected general-interest magazine on Jewish life. During his tenure, Mr. Simon traveled to the Soviet Union where he wrote influential papers revealing the oppressive attitude of the government in restricting religious observance. His work became the catalyst for a campaign by Jewish leaders around the world to allow over a million repressed Jews in the Soviet Union to emigrate to the West and practice their beliefs freely.

Throughout his life, Mr. Simon faced his share of fraught situations: In 1977, he and 100 other B'nail B'rith workers were held hostage for almost 40 hours when Hanafi Muslims took over the organization's headquarters, until ambassadors from three Islamic nations secured their release. Mr. Simon later wrote a visceral op-ed piece for the New York Times recounting the experience.

"Shock. It numbs the emotions, insulating you from the worst of your fears. It keeps your sanity intact while, your hands bound, you are squirming from flat on your back to flat on your belly, inching for a more comfortable resting place on the hard cement floor," he wrote.

"Bernie will always be remembered as one of the true pioneer leaders in the world of Jewish communal service," said B'nai B'rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin in a press release. "In addition to his courageous and exemplary role in public relations, he was a tireless advocate for the staff of our organization, and was instrumental in developing our retirement plan."

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Rebecca

It is an obscure post.

April 22 2010 at 10:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Yme Sandelmann

Not to be an ass, and I'm sorry for David Simon's loss... how is this TV related? I nearly died myself when I saw the words "David Simon" "dies" and the picture of him on the front page... Will you inform us if Charlie Sheen's aunt dies, as well?

April 22 2010 at 4:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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