'sigh'...First, it was Robin Williams a few months ago, then last week, it was Leonard Nimoy and now the person whom I had the most respect for from the Simpsons staff has passed away after a long fight with cancer: Sam Simon.
What most of you may, or may not know, Sam was the guy hired by James L. Brooks to get the Simpsons off the ground in 1989 and it was his job to make Matt Groening's "Cartoon Shorts" to work for a half-hour, animated sitcom. Sam hired the writers, and help reshape the Simpson family, too. It was Sam that said Lisa should be the smart, sensitive one, instead of the brat on the "Shorts" and Sam saved one of the greatest scenes in the show's history: Homer's jump over Springfield Gorge on a skateboard.
(According to the "Unauthorized Guide to the Simpsons", Matt Groening learned of the "jump" and went over Sam's head and wanted it removed from the episode "Bart the Daredevil". Sam, furious, went back to the animation studio and made the staff reins