American playwright/screenwriter Neil Simon collected the Mark Twain Prize at the annual Kennedy Center awards ceremony in New York last night (15OCT06). THE ODD COUPLE writer was joined onstage by his wife ELAINE JOYCE when he picked up the honour at the prestigious event, which celebrates entertainers who "create humour from their uniquely American experiences". Robert Redford, who starred in the 1967 movie adaptation of Simon's BAREFOOT IN THE PARK, said, "Some say he's the most successful playwright since (WILLIAM) SHAKESPEARE. Except he's more prolific and he's still writing." Redford received a Kennedy Center award last year (05).