This April 22, 1977 file photo shows director Gene Saks in New York. (AP Photo/Marty Reichenthal, File)
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Gene Saks, a prolific actor-director who teamed with playwright and fellow New Yorker Neil Simon on hit Broadway and movie productions of such Simon comedies as "The Odd Couple" and "Brighton Beach Memoirs," has died.Three years later, when Simon was preparing the film version of "Barefoot in the Park," he persuaded producer Hal Wallis to hire Saks as director of his first movie.Gottlieb asked Saks to direct "Enter Laughing".It was the Cy Coleman-Michael Stewart musical "I Love My Wife" that brought Saks his first Tony. He went on to win two more for Simon plays, "Brighton Beach Memoirs" in 1983 and "Biloxi Blues" in 1985 .After serving for three years, he studied at the New School for Social Research and the Actors Studio.He appeared in such plays as Paddy Chayefsky's "The Tenth Man" (1959), "A Shot in the Dark" (1961) and the Herb Gardner comedy "A Thousand Clowns" (1962) in which he played a children's TV performer known as Chuckles the Chipmunk, a role Saks recreated in the film version.
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