The Sunshine Boys is a comic play by Neil Simon. It tells the story of two elderly vaudevillians, formerly partners known as "Lewis and Clark," who grew to hate each other over the years, and for their last year together never spoke to each other off-stage. When Clark's nephew tries to bring them together to perform their old act on television, they have to learn how to get along with each other. The play derives much of its appeal from speculation about whether some real-life comedy duos experienced similar problems.
In 1975 the play was made into a movie, starring Walter Matthau, George Burns, Richard Benjamin, Lee Meredith, Carol DeLuise, F. Murray Abraham, Howard Hesseman and Ron Rifkin. Adapted by Simon and directed by Herbert Ross, the movie won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor (George Burns) and was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Walter Matthau), Best Art Direction-Set Decoration and Best Writing, Screenplay Adapted From Other Material.
Jack Benny had been signed to appear in the movie, but was forced to withdraw after being diagnosed with the pancreatic cancer that would soon kill him. Burns took the role, which is generally credited with reviving his dormant career. In 1995 a television version aired, starring Woody Allen, Peter Falk, Michael McKean, Liev Schreiber, Edie Falco and Sarah Jessica Parker.