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Schary, Dore


SCHARY, DORE (Isidore ; 1905–1980), U.S. film writer and producer. Born in Newark, New Jersey, Schary acquired a reputation as a screenwriter in Hollywood before he was 30. In 1941 he became an executive producer for Metro Goldwyn Mayer (mgm), where his policy of producing scripts with a social message led to such films as Boys Town (1938); Edison, the Man (1940); Joe Smith, American (1942); and Bataan (1943). He moved to Vanguard in 1943, and to rko in 1947, the year in which his Crossfire put the issue of antisemitism on the screen for the first time in the United States. In 1947 Schary returned to mgm, of which he became chief production manager in 1951. Among the more than 300 pictures he produced there were such popular successes as Battleground (1949); The Asphalt Jungle (1950); King Solomon's Mines (1950); Quo Vadis? (1951); Lili (1953); and Julius Caesar (1953). Schary was dismissed from his post in 1956 as part of a sweeping reorganization, but remained with mgm as a consultant for the next ten years. Turning to the stage, he wrote the Broadway hit Sunrise at Campobello (1958), which dealt with the early career of Franklin D. Roosevelt, and for which he won a Tony Award. He also wrote the successful musical The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1960).

Active politically in the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, Schary was also interested in Israel and Jewish affairs and served for many years as national chairman of the Anti-Defamation League of the B'nai B'rith (1963–69). In 1948 he was given the Thomas Jefferson Award by the Council Against Intolerance in America. In 1970 he was appointed New York City's first commissioner of cultural affairs. In 1982 the adl established the annual Dore Schary Award, presented to student film and video productions on subjects that combat prejudice and promote human rights.

His autobiography, For Special Occasions, appeared in 1962. His final autobiography, Heyday, was published in 1979.


J. (Schary) Zimmer, With a Cast of Thousands: A Hollywood Childhood (1963); Current Biography 1948 (1949).

[Stewart Kampel /

Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]

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