When Holiday opened on Broadway in 1928, Philip Barry was 32 years old. It was his eighth Broadway show.

Born in Rochester, NY in 1896 to a wealthy Irish immigrant family, Barry started writing at age 9. After studying at Yale, he was accepted into a famous play workshop program at Harvard called “English 47,” starting his playwriting career.

Tony Goldwyn and Laura Linney in the 1995 Circle in the Square production of Holiday. Photo by Sara Krulwich

Although Barry’s plays include dramas, a mystery, and religious, political, and experimental pieces, his best-loved work is about the world he knew best: the world of the wealthy. While these plays are comedies, he hoped they revealed something deeper beneath the sparkly surface.

In all, he had 21 plays on Broadway. His most famous works are Holiday and The Philadelphia Story, both of which were made into movies. He wrote the lead role in The Philadelphia Story for actress Katharine Hepburn, which was credited with revitalizing her career.

Barry, his wife, and his children split their time between their three homes in New York City, the countryside in Upstate New York, and Cannes in France. He died suddenly from a heart attack at age 53.

This post draws on source material authored by Kayla Warren and Rebecca Campana