Pioneering Producer and Actor Ron Simons Dies at 63

Ron Simons' Remarkable Shift from Tech to Broadway.

by Nouman Rasool
Pioneering Producer and Actor Ron Simons Dies at 63
© Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Ron Simons, a highly respected figure in the theatre and four-time Tony Award-winning producer, dies at 63. His production company, SimonSays Entertainment, confirmed his unexpected death on Wednesday without giving any further details on the cause of death.

Along with an unorthodox career path, Simons was born on November 30, 1960, in Detroit, Michigan. After earning an MBA in marketing and international business at Columbia Business School in 1989, he began his career at Microsoft in San Francisco as a product manager.

It was not until the age of 39 that Simons made an extreme turn in his career direction and turned towards his lifetime passion for performing arts. Simons received his MFA in acting from the University of Washington and relocated to New York City, where he joined the Classical Theatre of Harlem and quickly began landing guest roles on a multitude of films and television shows, including memorable guest turns on "Jonny Zero," "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," "27 Dresses, and many more.

Producing Stardom Rises

But even in doing all that in the acting world, camps were not done yet in leaving his mark in entertainment. In 2009, he founded SimonSays Entertainment, and as a producer, his career took to the roof.

In 2010, he produced his first film, "Night Catches Us," starring Kerry Washington and Anthony Mackie. Then came his work on Broadway, making the 2012 revival of "Porgy and Bess" with Audra McDonald and Norm Lewis. Throughout his career, Simons has co-produced many Broadway shows and has won Tony Awards for such productions as "Porgy and Bess," "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder," "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike," and "Jitney." More recently, in 2021, he was the lead producer for "Thoughts of a Colored Man" and the 2022 revival of "for coloured girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf." The Classical Theatre of Harlem, for which Simons had served as a trustee, remembered him as follows: "We are heartbroken to learn of our friend and former trustee Ron Simon's passing.

Ron has left behind an unmatched legacy on Broadway and beyond. We will always remember his kindness and incredible talent that inspired many." Simons' journey from a corporate professional to a celebrated figure in the arts serves as an inspiring tale of following one's dreams and making an indelible mark on the world. His legacy will undoubtedly continue to influence and inspire future generations in the world of theatre and beyond.