Sam Simon, 59, a cocreator of The Simpsons and animal-rights advocate who made a midlife career shift into philanthropy and channeled much of his personal fortune into social causes, died Sunday at his home in Pacific Palisades, Calif.

He was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer in 2011.

After stints writing for Taxi, Cheers, and The Tracey Ullman Show, Mr. Simon helped launch The Simpsons in 1989.

He left the series after its fourth season under a deal that rewarded him with continuing royalties from the show, which remains in production.

He established the Sam Simon Foundation, which rescues dogs from animal shelters and trains them to assist the disabled. He also donated to Mercy for Animals, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and funded a food bank.

In an interview in 2013, he voiced a desire to spend all of his money on charitable causes.

"I'm not sad," Mr. Simon declared as he battled his illness. "I'm happy. I don't feel angry and bitter. I want to do whatever I can to survive." - AP