Writer Don Payne, who began his writing career on TV in the mid-nineties with episodes of Hope and Gloria, Can’t Hurry Love, Men Behaving Badly, Veronica’s Closet and The Brian Benben Show before becoming writer, producer, supervising producer, co-executive producer and consulting producer of The Simpsons, has passed at 48, losing his long battle with bone cancer. The Simpsons’ showrunner Al Jean stated: “Don was a wonderful writer and an even more wonderful man. He was beloved in the ‘Simpsons’ community and his untimely passing is terrible news to us all.” Payne either wrote or co-wrote 18 episodes of the long-running FOX series beginning in 2000. He segued into screenwriting in 2006 with My Super Ex-Girlfriend, followed by Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Thor, Maximum Ride and this fall’s Thor: The Dark World. In 2006, he told the website Cinematical that “I’ve always wanted to write features. That’s why I moved to Los Angeles in the first place. I started writing with John Frink when I was in college at UCLA. He wanted to do TV, and that’s where we got our first break. But my goal was always to write movies. And I’ve been a comic book geek from way back. So this romantic comedy with a superhero twist was a fitting first feature for me.” During his run on The Simpsons, he shared four Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Animated Program and won the Paul Selvin Award from the Writers Guild of America for writing the 2005 episode Fraudcast News.
He is survived by two sons and a daughter and his wife Julie.