Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Kate Jerome

Kate Jerome, who is about fifty years old and graying. She is the mother of Eugene and Stanley Jerome, the daughter of Ben Epstein, and the wife of Jack Jerome. After thirty-three years of marriage, she confronts Jack with his extramarital affair; they do not speak to each other afterward. Shortly after the radio broadcast of a show written by her sons, Kate shows her son Eugene how she once danced with George Raft. The next morning, she discovers that Jack has moved out to be with Audrey, the dying woman with whom he had an affair. Kate is silent at her discovery. Eugene states that Kate never does anything very exciting with the rest of her life, yet she never complains of sacrificing for others. She gave her love freely and rejoiced with the successes of her sons. After all, as Eugene explains at the end of the play, Kate had at one time danced with George Raft.

Eugene Morris Jerome

Eugene Morris Jerome, the twenty-three-year-old son of Kate and Jack Jerome, brother of Stanley Jerome, and grandson of Ben Epstein. Eugene works in the stockroom of a music room and writes comedy skits with his older brother. He is often the narrator of the play and is the cowriter of a CBS radio broadcast.

Stanley Jerome

Stanley Jerome, Kate and Jack Jerome’s twenty-eight-year-old son and Eugene’s brother. Stanley, the manager of boys’ clothing at Abraham and Straus, joins with Eugene to form a comedy writing team. Stan decides that Eugene and he must move out when his father says that he will never forgive his sons for the broadcast, explains that the woman with whom he had an affair was a kind and decent woman, and says that he believes that he has lived out his welcome in his own home. After Stan negotiates a two-hundred-dollar-a-week deal for Eugene and himself with The Phil Silvers Show,...

(The entire section is 770 words.)


(Great Characters in Literature)

Henry, William A., III. “Reliving a Poignant Past.” Time 128 (December 15, 1986): 72-78.

Johnson, Robert K. Neil Simon. Boston: Twayne, 1983.

Konas, Gary, ed. Neil Simon: A Casebook. New York: Garland, 1997.

Koprince, Susan. Understanding Neil Simon. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2002.

McGovern, Edythe M. Neil Simon: A Critical Study. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1979.

Meryman, Richard. “When the Funniest Writer in America Tried to Be Serious.” Life 70 (May 7, 1971): 60-83.

Richards, David. “The Last of the Red Hot Playwrights.” The New York Times Magazine, February 17, 1991, 30-32, 36, 57, 64.