Neil Simon dies at the age of 91

Neil Simon, the American playwright and screenwriter, has died. He was 91.

Posted: Aug 27, 2018 3:56 PM
Updated: Aug 27, 2018 4:11 PM

This was definitely not your typical August, slow news weekend. So let's get straight to what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get "5 Things You Need to Know Today" delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. Florida mass shooting

Two people were killed and 11 injured after a shooting during a video game tournament in Jacksonville, Florida. Police said the suspect in the shooting, 24-year-old David Katz of Baltimore, Maryland, opened fire on gamers before killing himself. A possible motive in the shooting, which took place at an open-air marketplace along the St. Johns River, hasn't been released.

Survivors of the shooting described a scene of absolute chaos, with people either running from the immediate area or hiding in bathrooms, calling for help. Florida has seen several mass shootings the past couple of years: at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, at the Fort Lauderdale airport, at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. This latest incident is sure to reignite the ever-smoldering gun debate.

2. John McCain

John McCain will be given an honor bestowed on just 30 people in our nation's history. McCain, who died of brain cancer over the weekend, will lie in state at the US Capitol on Friday. It's just one of many ways the "maverick" senator from Arizona will be honored this week. On Saturday, a memorial service will be held at the National Cathedral in Washington, where former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush will deliver eulogies. McCain will be buried the next day at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

Notably absent from the planned memorials will be President Trump. McCain's family didn't want Trump at his funeral, CNN reported back in May. The White House drafted a statement for Trump praising McCain for his heroism and decades of public service, but it was never sent out. A brief tweet -- that didn't mention McCain's military or Senate service or include any praise for him -- was all that Trump put out. The exclusion of the President from McCain's funeral plans speaks volumes, says CNN's Stephen Collinson.

3. Pope Francis

Pope Francis' weekend trip to Ireland was already going to be difficult, with the clergy sex abuse scandals swirling around the church. It became even more so after an ex-church official called on Francis to resign for his handling of the cases. Carlo Maria Vigano, a former archbishop and Vatican ambassador to the US, claimed he told Francis about sex abuse allegations against American Cardinal Theodore McCarrick five years ago, but that the Pope did nothing. Francis, during Mass in Dublin yesterday, asked for forgiveness for abuses and told reporters on his flight back to Italy that he wouldn't say "a single word" about Vigano's allegations.

4. Neil Simon

Playwright and screenwriter Neil Simon died over the weekend from pneumonia complications at age 91. To tick through his work is to go through a list of the shining comedic achievements of the past few decades: "Barefoot in the Park." "The Odd Couple." "The Out-of-Towners." Simon's work was so hot for a period during the late 1960s, he had four shows appearing at once on Broadway. Of his more than 30 plays, 13 were made into movies. He received 16 Tony nominations and won best play three times. He also earned four Oscar nominations, a Pulitzer Prize and the Mark Twain Prize. Perhaps his greatest honor is the Broadway theater named for him; he was the only living person to have received such recognition.

5. Alcohol study

Think you're protecting your health because you're a light-to-moderate drinker? Think again. A new study says no amount of alcohol is safe for your overall health. The study, from the journal The Lancet, says alcohol was the leading risk factor for disease and premature death in men and women between 15-49 worldwide in 2016. That's almost one in 10 deaths. And for all ages, alcohol was responsible for nearly 3 million deaths. Those deaths include alcohol-related cancer and cardiovascular diseases; intentional injuries, such as violence and self-harm; and unintentional injuries, such as drowning, traffic wrecks and fires.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

Happy birthday

Katherine Johnson -- whose story was told in the Oscar-nominated "Hidden Figures" -- is 100 years old.

Back to sports

Jemele Hill, the sportscaster who famously feuded with President Trump, is out at ESPN, as the network seeks to get away from politics.

Hearing from dad

We've seen some awesome gender reveals, but this one takes the cake. A husband used the voice of his wife's late dad to make the announcement.

Earth view

Dust, fires and storms. You can see them all in this stunning photo of the world supplied by NASA.

A child's joy

The senselessness of war destroyed her city. Yet this 7-year-old girl still found a way to celebrate life.

NUMBERS OF THE DAY

$48.4 million

That's what a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO sold for over the weekend, a record for any car ever sold at auction.

$15 an hour

That will be the new minimum wage at Walt Disney World, after Disney struck a deal with unions. The agreement will boost starting wages by 50%.

HAPPENING LATER

This could get awkward

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta visits the White House today, which should be interesting considering President Trump's comments slamming immigrants coming to the US from "sh*thole countries" in Africa, and Trump's pushing of the debunked claim that Barack Obama was born in Kenya.

AND FINALLY ...

Musical memories

Need to know the most popular song for every year since 1940? (You know, so you can talk to the cool kids.) Somebody did all that work for you. (Click to view)

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