Philip James Quinn Barry (June 18, 1896 – December 3, 1949) was an American dramatist best known for his plays Holiday (1928) and The Philadelphia Story (1939), which were both made into films starring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant.
Philip Barry was born on June 18, 1896 in Rochester, New York to James Corbett Barry and Mary Agnes Quinn Barry. James died from appendicitis a year after Philip's birth, and the family's marble-and-tile business faltered from then on. His oldest brother, Edmund, who was sixteen at the time, left school to take over the business and became a father-figure for Philip.
Barry's play The Youngest, written when he was twenty-eight, is an autobiographical account of his family history following his father's death. In 1910, at the age of fourteen, Barry discovered that a New York State interpretation of his father's will entitled him a share of his father's estate that would eventually leave him the entire business. Family conflicts ensued; he later claimed he had never intended to keep the money, and he eventually signed over the estate to his mother and brothers.
Because of his poor eyesight, Barry was rejected for military service during World War I, but he eventually found a war-time job deciphering cables at the U.S. Embassy in London and left Yale to assume his duties. At the end of the war, he returned to college, where he studied writing with Henry Seidel Canby, and earned his B.A. His mother and two elder brothers vehemently wanted him to return to the family in Rochester after college and take a place in the family business. He was, however, determined to strike out on his own and, knowing that he wanted to be a writer, enrolled in George Pierce Baker's renowned playwriting course, "47 Workshop" at Harvard University. (Alumni of Baker's course, in addition to Barry, include Eugene O'Neill, Sidney Howard, S.N. Behrman, and Thomas Wolfe as well as numerous critics, directors, and designers...
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