Matty Simmons, who served as co-founder of the National Lampoon and also worked as a film producer, died at the age of 93 on Wednesday. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Simmons’s daughter Kate confirmed the news in a post on Instagram yesterday.
“Yesterday I lost my hero. My dad had gone from the sharpest, healthiest 93 year old most people have encountered to abruptly having every imaginable issue except corona. What he did in a lifetime was legendary,” Kate wrote in the post. She went on to describe her father as “my best friend in the world. I truly don’t know how I’m going to be without him. He always told me ‘you’re Kate Bradley Simmons and you can do anything’ so I’ll follow his words and try my best. It’s really wild. My mom left this world during a horrific stage four hurricane and now my dad during a world pandemic. What a profound testament to what powerful people they were. Alas, they can finally be together again.”
As outlined by his daughter, Simmons was a co-founder of National Lampoon and publisher of the National Lampoon magazine in the ’70s. He was instrumental in helping the Lampoon brand expand beyond the magazine, having produced films like 1978’s Animal House and the Vacation movies starring Chevy Chase, as well as Lampoon radio programs (National Lampoon Radio Hour) and theater productions that influenced the creation of SNL (National Lampoon: Lemmings). Among the books he wrote is Fat, Drunk, and Stupid: The Inside Story Behind the Making of Animal House, which was published in 2012.
When asked in a Splitsider interview at the time about his experience keeping the wild Lampoon writers and performers like John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Bill Murray, and Michael O’Donoghue in line, Simmons said, “You know, it’s funny. Michael O’Donoghue wrote me a letter shortly before he died, and he said, ‘You know, now that I think back on what you went through with us … Now that I write, direct, and produce myself, I can understand what you went through and it must have been hell.’ As a matter of fact, it wasn’t hell; it was fun. It was great fun.” Read the full interview here.