Who is David Barry?
David McAlister Barry is admired by millions of readers as one of the very few authors who can wield wit as effectively so as to make even his staunchest critic chuckle. Be it a domestic scene, exploding fishes, dogs devoid of intelligence, flaming pop-tarts or Barbie dolls, long acronyms, or low-flow toilets, his clean and sharp wit has continued to enthral the modern readers. He disguises serious issues in parodies where he himself is the butt of his jokes. From nuances in talk and behaviour to incompetent authorities and ineffective laws, he thoroughly enjoys taking frequent digs at South Florida and everything Floridian. Fans enjoy his wisecracks and commentary and feel drawn to the offbeat humour of his works. He has perfected the art of employing a running gag throughout his novels while making it sound as a private joke between him and his reader. This prolific author has written several books on humour and parody and numerous comedic novels. His body of published work includes 23 works of non-fiction, eight collected columns, 14 works of fiction, 4 film adaptations, innumerable collaborations, and a few audio recordings. In his fourth decade of writing, his sense of humour has shown no signs of waning.
Childhood & Early Life
Dave Barry was born to David Barry, a Presbyterian minister. He was educated at Wampus Elementary School - Harold C. Crittenden Junior High School.
He later joined the Pleasantville High School. In 1969, he received a degree in English from Haverford College.
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In 1971, he started working as a general assignment reporter for the ‘Daily Local News’ in West Chester, and reported on civic and government issues. A couple of years later, he was appointed as the city editor. Around this time, he wrote humour columns and cultivated his own style of writing.
Following a brief stint as a copy editor at the Associated Press’ Philadelphia bureau, he joined Burger Associates where he taught effective business writing.
The humour in his guest column for the Philadelphia Inquirer in 1981 garnered him an invitation to write regularly for ‘Tropic’, the Sunday magazine of ‘The Miami Herald’. The column was soon syndicated nationally.
In 1984, Barry and other editors at the ‘Tropic’ started the annual puzzle hunt called the ‘Tropic Hunt’. The same year, he published ‘Babies and Other Hazards of Sex’.
He also formed the band the ‘Urban Professionals’ which performed the ‘Tupperware Song’ at the Tupperware headquarters in Florida.
In 1992, he formed the rock band, ‘Rock Bottom Remainders’, with an impressive line up of published authors who could barely sing but were extremely loud.
The sitcom ‘Dave’s World’, based on his books ‘Dave Barry Turns 40’ and ‘Dave Barry's Greatest Hits’, experienced a good run on CBS between 1993 and 1997.
In 1998, he collaborated with Carl Hiaasen, Elmore Leonard, James W. Hall, Edna Buchanan, Les Standiford, and several others to produce ‘Naked Came the Manatee’.
In 1999, his debut novel, ‘Big Trouble’, a story revolving around smuggling a nuclear weapon onto an airplane was published. The movie adaptation was released three years later.
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In 2002, he travelled to ‘Grand Forks’ for the dedication ceremony of a sewage pumping station named after him. This was in response to his mocking ‘Grand Forks’ as one of the ‘Grand Cities’ in his column.
2005 saw a hiatus of his regular column; however, the screen adaptation of ‘Dave Barry’s Complete Guide to Guys’ was released the same year
In 1997, he published ‘Dave Barry's Book of Bad Songs’ and a couple of years later, ‘Big Trouble’ was published.
His books based on the famous character of ‘Peter Pan’ including Peter and the Starcatchers, ‘Peter and the Shadow Thieves’, ‘Peter and the Secret of Rundoon’, ‘Peter and the Sword of Mercy’ and ‘The Bridge to Neverland’ were published between 2004 and 2011.
‘Peter and the Starcatchers’, a Disney adaptation of his novel was announced in May 2012.
He sang alongside Stephen King, Amy Tan, Al Kooper, Warren Zevon, and Roger McGuinn in the ‘Rock Bottom Remainders’. ‘Mid-Life Confidential: The Rock Bottom Remainders Tour America with Three Chords and an Attitude’ is a best-seller record of the band’s tour.
His prequels to J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan stories were written in collaboration with Ridley Pearson including ‘Peter and the Starcatchers’, ‘Peter and the Secret of Rundoon’ and ‘The Bridge to Never Land’ etc. earned him great fame and recognition.
Awards & Achievements
In 1988, he won a Pulitzer Prize for ‘effective use of humor... presenting fresh insights into serious concerns’.
Two of his articles have been included in the ‘Best American Sportswriting’ series.
‘Dave Barry Turns 40’, ‘Dave Barry Talks Back’, and ‘Dave Barry’s Greatest Hits’ have appeared on the ‘New York Times Best Seller List’.
Personal Life & Legacy
He got married to Ann Shelnutt, but the couple later got divorced.
He then married Beth Lenox in 1976. The couple had a son, Robert. Beth and Barry divorced in 1993.
He is currently married to Michelle Kaufman, the sports writer for Miami Herald. Their daughter Sophie was born of this marriage in 2000.
This distinguished author has not only written for the Libertarian Party's national newsletter but has also used the platform to run several mock campaigns for President of the United States.
As he was the son of a minister and an alumnus of a Quaker-affiliated college, this humorist registered as a religious conscientious objector to the Vietnam War in order to avoid military service.
Big Trouble, the movie based on this author’s debut novel, was originally due for release in September 2001, but was postponed due to the 9/11 attacks.