Isidore Schary (SHAR-ee), the son of hardworking Russian Jewish immigrants, grew up in Newark, New Jersey, where his parents ran a kosher catering business. Changing his name to Dore in his teens, he ultimately became one of the most powerful executives in Hollywood. Schary was also a highly successful screenwriter and playwright. His best known works, including his Academy Award-winning screenplay for Boys Town, and his Tony Award-winning play Sunrise at Campobello, combine an entertaining story with a genuine moral or social dimension often absent from escapist movies and theater of the period.
After dropping out of high school, Schary was a drama coach at the Newark Young Men’s Hebrew Association (YMHA), along with his lifetime friend, playwright Moss Hart. He also helped produce theatrical performances at summer resorts in the Catskill Mountains. Schary soon returned to high school to finish the requirements for a diploma and then embarked on a career in acting and playwriting. He performed in stock companies and small Broadway roles and wrote plays. In 1932 Schary’s plays came to the attention of executives at Columbia Pictures, who hired him as a screenwriter. That same year he married Miriam Svet, and they eventually had three children.
Schary’s early screenwriting career floundered when he was fired from Columbia after less than a year. Undaunted, he freelanced, writing screenplays for various studios, climaxing...
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