Mary Coyle Chase

Mary Coyle Chase

Mary Coyle Chase (February 25, 1907October 20, 1981) was a Pulitzer Prize winning American playwright and screenwriter.

Born in Denver, Colorado, she wrote "Harvey" (1944), the smash stage show and motion picture.

"Harvey" is about a man (Elwood P. Dowd) with an invisible six-foot rabbit friend ("Harvey"), whom only he can always see, though there is speculation that his sister, Veta Louise Simmons, her lawyer, Judge Gaffney and his niece, Myrtle Mae Simmons have seen Harvey. Even the respectable Dr. Chumley, who at first thought Elwood P. Dowd a madman, definitely saw and appreciated Harvey. Although Elwood does consume more than his fair share of alcohol, it turns out that "Harvey" is not a by-product of liquor, but in the end is a veritable pooka.

Frank Fay and James Stewart were the most famous actors to portray Elwood P. Dowd. Josephine Hull portrayed his increasingly concerned (and socially obsessed) sister on Broadway originally, and won an Oscar for her stellar performance in the faithful film adaptation. Ruth McDevitt, Helen Hayes, and Swoosie Kurtz have also played Elwood's sister in various media.

Chase's comedy "Mrs. McThing" (1952) deals with a witch who is able to create duplicates of people from sticks; the duplicate looks and sounds exactly like the original person but has a radically different personality. Whenever this duplication process is made, the duplicate takes over the original person's life and the original is banished to a diner at the edge of town, where he or she is forced to work in menial labor: the diner is inhabited by colorful customers and oddball staff.

External links

* [ Photo]
* [ Mary Chase's entry in the Internet Broadway Database]
* [ Guide to the Mary Chase papers at the University of Oregon]

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