His daughter, Kate Simmons, announced the news on her Instagram account on Thursday.
“Yesterday I lost my hero,” she wrote, in part. “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.”
Matty Simmons was a Brooklyn native and an executive VP at the Diners Club credit card company. He founded Twenty First Century Communications in 1967 with Len Mogel to publish countercultural magazine Cheetah, then went on to publish Weight Watchers and National Lampoon magazines.
The National Lampoon launched in 1970 as a spinoff of the Harvard Lampoon humor magazine, which led to the 1972 stage show “Lemmings” and “The National Lampoon Radio Hour.” Performers included future “Saturday Night Live” stars John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, and actor-producer Harold Ramis.
Simmons teamed with Ivan Reitman to produce the landmark 1978 frat-house comedy “Animal House,” directed by John Landis and starring Belushi, Tom Hulce, Stephen Furst, Tim Matheson and Peter Riegert. He also produced TV spinoff “Delta House” in 1979 and 1983’s hit comedy “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” starring Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Anthony Michael Hall, Dana Barron and Randy Quaid with Ramis directing. The “Vacation” franchise spawned four sequels.
Simmons was the author of the 2012 memoir “Fat, Drunk, and Stupid: The Making of Animal House,” along with 1995’s “If You Don’t Buy This Book, We’ll Kill This Dog,” referencing a famous 1973 National Lampoon magazine cover, and 1996’s “The Credit Card Catastrophe.”
Simmons appeared in Douglas Tirola’s 2015 Lampoon documentary “Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead” and was portrayed by Matt Walsh in the 2018 Douglas Kenney biopic “A Futile and Stupid Gesture.”
See his daughter’s full Instagram post below.
View this post on Instagram
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. A founder of the National Lampoon and the Diners Club Card. Producer of Animal House and the Vacation series. He wrote like nine books and could finish a novel faster than I’ll probably finish this post. When we lost my mom a couple years ago it felt like a part of us both died. He told me early on, we’re a team now and we have to stick together. We did just that and became inseparably close. He became 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.