A graduate of Columbia University, American director S. Sylvan Simon enjoyed a long career as a drama coach, radio executive and stage director before signing on at Warner Bros. in 1935 to direct screen tests. He moved to MGM as director and assistant director in 1937; here he began to cultivate a skill for fast-paced comedy. Though Charles Reisner was official director of theMarx Brothers' The Big Store, it was Simon who supervised many of the slapstick sequences, and it was Simon to whom the Marxs' frequently turned for aid and comfort. He directed Red Skelton's first starring feature Whistling in the Dark (1941), and soon became virtually the only director in whom Skelton had total faith. When the comedian was disappointed at the progress of his 1948 vehicle A Southern Yankee under the direction of Edward Sedgwick, Simon was brought in to redirect virtually the entire film without credit. And on Skelton's Columbia box-office hit The Fuller Brush Man (1948), Simon functioned as both director and producer. After completing his last directorial effort, the odd flashback-laden western Lust for Gold (1949), Simon turned exclusively to producing for Columbia, handling such pictures as The Good Humor Man and Born Yesterday (both 1950). S. Sylvan Simon's sudden death at age 41 was a loss that was felt throughout the industry, where Simon was held in high esteem for both his efficiency and his agreeability.