Dave Barry

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Dave Barry

David Barry, Jr. (born July 3, 1947) is a bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist who wrote a nationally syndicated column for the Miami, Florida newspaper, The Miami Herald, from 1983 to January, 2005. His column is currently on a one-year hiatus, after which it may or may not return.



Barry was born in Armonk, New York, where his father, David Barry, Sr., was a Presbyterian minister. He was educated at Pleasantville High School, where he was elected class clown in 1965, and at Haverford College, where he played in the Federal Duck (a student rock band) and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 1969. As the son of a minister and an alumnus of a Quaker-affiliated college, Barry avoided military service during the Vietnam War by registering as a religious conscientious objector even though, as he declared in a 2001 interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, he had decided he "was an atheist early on."

His journalism career began as a reporter with the Daily Local News, in West Chester, Pennsylvania, "where he covered a series of incredibly dull municipal meetings, some of which are still going on." In 1975, Barry joined Burger Associates, a consulting firm. He taught effective writing to business people. In his own words, he "spent nearly eight years trying to get his students to stop writing things like `Enclosed please find the enclosed enclosures,' but he eventually realized that it was hopeless." In 1983, Barry started working as a humor columnist for the Miami Herald. Barry won a Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 1988, "for his consistently effective use of humor as a device for presenting fresh insights into serious concerns."

For a 1992 American Booksellers Association convention, several authors including Barry formed a band for charity: The Rock Bottom Remainders (a publishing term for books that don't sell). The members of the band, which has at various times included Stephen King, Amy Tan, Ridley Pearson, Mitch Albom, Kathy Goldmark, Roy Blount Jr., Barbara Kingsolver, and Matt Groening, "are not musically skilled, but they are extremely loud," according to Barry. The band's road tour resulted in the book Mid-Life Confidential: The Rock Bottom Remainders Tour America with Three Chords and an Attitude, which is now out of print.

CBS broadcast the situation comedy Dave's World for four seasons, from 1993 to 1997, based on the books Dave Barry Turns 40 and Dave Barry's Greatest Hits, starring Harry Anderson as Barry, and DeLane Matthews as his wife, Beth. In an early episode, Barry was cast in a cameo role. The program was canceled shortly after being moved from Monday to the Friday night death slot.

Barry's first novel, Big Trouble, was made into a motion picture, directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, starring Tim Allen, Rene Russo and Patrick Warburton, with a cameo by Barry. The movie was originally due for release in late 2001, but was postponed shortly after the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attack because the story involved smuggling a nuclear weapon onto an airplane.

Barry and his wife, Beth, welcomed a son, Rob, in 1980. The Barrys divorced in the mid-1990s. In 1996, Barry married Miami Herald sportswriter Michelle Kaufman; they had a daughter, Sophie, in 2000. All are mentioned regularly in Barry's columns.

Barry once picked up his son Rob from Junior High School while driving the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile.

Articles written by Barry have appeared in publications such as Boating, Home Office Computing and Reader's Digest.

When distinguishing fact from hyperbole, Barry frequently asserts: "I am not making this up." His writings center largely on exploding or flaming items (cows, exploding whales, vacuum cleaners, toilets, pop tarts, Barbie dolls, etc.), dogs' lacking intelligence, and amusing government studies. Barry also has libertarian political leanings. He labels various posts on his blog with long abbreviations, such as OIYDWYMTTY(NY)G and wbagnfarb ("would be a great name for a rock band", an observation Barry often applies to phrases which pop up in his writing, such as "Italic Squirrels"), no doubt poking fun at unnecessarily long internet abbreviations.

On October 20, 2004, Dave Barry announced that he would be taking an indefinite leave of absence of at least a year from his weekly humor column with the Herald in order to spend more time with his family. He said that he would continue writing humor and children's books and working on filming the screen adaptation of his book, Dave Barry's Complete Guide to Guys. He has not yet decided whether he will return to writing the column in 2006. Barry does, however continue to post updates in his weblog, which duty he shares with his "research department," Judi Smith. In addition he maintains an active book-signing schedule.



  • Big Trouble (2001/2)
  • Dave Barry's Complete Guide to Guys (in production 2005)


  • Big Trouble (1999)
  • Tricky Business (2002)
  • Peter and the Starcatchers (2004, with Ridley Pearson)


  • The Taming of the Screw (1983)
  • Babies and Other Hazards of Sex: How to Make a Tiny Person in Only 9 Months With Tools You Probably Have Around the Home (1984)
  • Stay Fit and Healthy Until You're Dead (1985)
  • Claw Your Way to the Top: How to Become the Head of a Major Corporation in Roughly a Week (1986)
  • Dave Barry's Guide to Marriage and/or Sex (1987)
  • Homes and Other Black Holes (1988)
  • Dave Barry Slept Here: A Sort of History of the United States (1989)
  • Dave Barry Turns 40 (1990)
  • Dave Barry's Only Travel Guide You'll Ever Need (1991)
  • Dave Barry's Guide to Life (1991) includes Dave Barry's Guide to Marriage and/or Sex, Claw You Way to the Top, Stay Fit and Healthy Until You're Dead and Babies and Other Hazards of Sex
  • Dave Barry Does Japan (1992)
  • Dave Barry's Gift Guide to End All Gift Guides (1994)
  • Dave Barry's Complete Guide to Guys (1996)
  • Dave Barry in Cyberspace (1996)
  • Dave Barry's Book of Bad Songs (1997)
  • Dave Barry Turns 50 (1998)
  • Dave Barry Hits Below the Beltway: A Vicious and Unprovoked Attack on Our Most Cherished Political Institutions (2001)
  • "My Teenage Son's Goal in Life is to Make Me Feel 3,500 Years Old" and Other Thoughts On Parenting From Dave Barry (2001)
  • "The Greatest Invention In The History Of Mankind Is Beer" And Other Manly Insights From Dave Barry (2001)

Collected columns

  • Dave Barry's Bad Habits: A 100% Fact-Free Book (1987)
  • Dave Barry's Greatest Hits (1988)
  • Dave Barry Talks Back (1991)
  • The World According to Dave Barry (1994) includes Dave Barry Talks Back and Dave Barry's Greatest Hits
  • Dave Barry is NOT Making This Up (1995)
  • Dave Barry Is from Mars and Venus (1997)
  • Dave Barry Is Not Taking This Sitting Down (2000)
  • Dave Barry: Boogers Are My Beat (2003)


  • Mid-Life Confidential: The Rock Bottom Remainders Tour America With Three Chords and an Attitude (1994) with Stephen King, Kathi Kamen Goldmark, Al Kooper, Ridley Pearson, Roy Blount, Jr., Joel Selvin, Amy Tan, Dave Marsh, Tad Bartimus, Matt Groening, Greil Marcus, Tabitha King, Barbara Kingsolver, Michael Dorris
  • Naked Came the Manatee (1998) with Carl Hiaasen, Elmore Leonard, James W. Hall, Edna Buchanan, Les Standiford, Paul Levine, Brian Antoni, Tananarive Due, John Dufresne, Vicki Hendricks, Carolina Hospital, Evelyn Mayerson

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