Remembering Sam Simon: Animal Hero

Sam Simon, the Hollywood heavyweight who co-created The Simpsons, produced Cheers and Taxi, and directed The Drew Carey Show, passed away at his Pacific Palisades home yesterday evening after a three-year battle with cancer. He was 59.

Sam, a longtime vegan, was also an outspoken and dedicated animal rights advocate. He not only donated millions of dollars to various animal protection charities, but led a campaign against Chick-fil-A’s abuse of chickens, liberated over 400 chinchillas, dozens of bears, elephants, and other animals from certain death, confronted whalers and sealers, and fed hundreds of homeless families vegan meals each week. This is just to name a few of Sam’s compassionate endeavors.

Through his generous contributions, Sam funded Mercy For Animals undercover investigations into factory farms and slaughterhouses, which have exposed horrific and oftentimes illegal cruelty to animals. Last year Sam narrated shocking undercover footage from inside a Chick-fil-A supplier factory farm and slaughterhouse showing injured birds packed in feces-laden sheds, thrown by workers, and having their throats slit. Sam wrote an open letter to Chick-fil-A’s CEO demanding the company take action to prevent egregious cruelty within its supply chain.

Watch Sam narrate Mercy For Animals’ Chick-fil-A investigation video below:

In 2013, Mercy For Animals honored Sam with The Compassionate Leadership Award for his outstanding contribution to farmed animal protection. Last year, Mercy For Animals created the Sam Simon Award, which Sam presented to inaugural recipient Pamela Anderson at the organization’s 15th Anniversary Gala in West Hollywood.

Ari Solomon, Mercy For Animals’ director of communications, was a close friend to Sam, co-hosting a weekly radio show with him. “To know Sam was to love Sam. He was a true hero and inspiration, and his legacy will live on through all of us working towards a kinder, more compassionate world. Words can’t express how much we’ll miss him, Ari said.

Sam was a heroic humanitarian whose selfless generosity and boundless courage inspired countless people around the world to be kinder to animals—and each other. His heart was as great as his sense of humor. He never missed an opportunity to speak up for those in need. Sam led by example and showed us all what bravery, kindness, and determination truly were. A more compassionate future draws ever more near because of his legacy of generosity.