Harris, Sam Henry
HARRIS, SAM HENRY
HARRIS, SAM HENRY (1872–1941), U.S. theatrical manager. Born in New York, Harris produced many successful plays. Several of them won Pulitzer Prizes, such as Icebound (1923) by Owen Davis and Of Thee I Sing (1931) by George S. *Kaufman. His partnership with playwright George M. Cohan lasted 15 years and resulted in the production of about 50 plays. Among them were the Broadway successes The Music Box Revue (1921), Rain (1922), and The Jazz Singer (1925). In 1929 Harris lost a considerable fortune but managed to recoup it with Once in a Lifetime (1930) and Moss *Hart's Pulitzer Prize-winning You Can't Take It with You (1936).
Harris was considered one of the great gentlemen of the theater, renowned for his fairness and kindness to actors, writers, and others involved in show business. One of the Great White Way's most prolific independent producers, Harris presented more than 130 Broadway plays and musicals. They include The Talk of New York (1908), The Little Millionaire (1911), Hamlet (1922), The Cocoanuts (starring the Marx Brothers, 1925), Chicago (1926), Animal Crackers (starring the Marx Brothers, 1928), Dinner at Eight (1932), Of Mice and Men (1937), and The Man Who Came to Dinner (1939). Later productions performed in the theater owned and operated by the Estate of Sam H. Harris include I Remember Mama (1944), Lost in the Stars (1949), and Five Finger Exercise (1959).
[Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]