Dore Schary Biography


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

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...

(The entire section is 528 words.)


(Drama for Students)

Dore Schary has been recognized not only for his contributions at MGM studios but also as a man of ‘‘firsts.’’ Schary was one of the...

(The entire section is 397 words.)


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Eells, George. “Sunrise at Campobello: The Story of Two Comebacks.” Look 22 (April 1, 1958): 98-101. The “two comebacks” are those of Franklin D. Roosevelt, as portrayed in Sunrise at Campobello, and Dore Schary. Excellent photographs of the theatrical production, with Eleanor Roosevelt on the set.

Schary, Dore. For Special Occasions. New York: Random House, 1962. Autobiographical account of Schary’s boyhood and adolescence in Newark, New Jersey, where his family operated a kosher catering establishment named Schary Manor. A fond reminiscence of a colorful assortment of family characters and the comic mayhem which often ensued when catering banquets and weddings.

Schary, Dore. Heyday: An Autobiography. Boston: Little, Brown, 1979. Comprehensive coverage of Schary’s life and career.

Schary, Dore. “Interview with Dore Schary.” Interview by Patrick McGilligan and Gerald Peary. In Film Crazy: Interviews with Hollywood Legends, edited by McGilligan. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000. Interview conducted in Madison, Wisconsin, in the summer of 1977, three years before Schary’s death. Includes an account of his meeting with Father Flanagan in Omaha to discuss the production of Boys Town.

“Top Jobs: Schary Keeps Ideas and People on Track.” Business Week, no. 1250 (August 15, 1953): 78-85. Detailed profile of Schary, then MGM production vice president and chief of studio operations, at the height of his career as a Hollywood studio executive. Includes a synopsis of one of his typical working days, with many photographs of him on the job.

Zimmer, Jill Schary. With a Cast of Thousands: A Hollywood Childhood. New York: Stein and Day, 1963. Memoir of growing up in the Schary household by Dore Schary’s daughter. Despite the privileged aristocratic life of limousines, private schools, and interactions with celebrities, the Schary family is shown to be close-knit and mutually supportive.