P.J. Barry, 'Octette Bridge Club' Playwright, Dies at 88

Courtesy of Matthew Barry
P.J. Barry

He also did some acting and served as artistic director at the Hudson Guild Theater in New York.

P.J. Barry, a playwright whose drama The Octette Bridge Club played on Broadway, died Sept. 2 in Los Angeles after a brief battle with cancer, his son, casting director Matthew Barry, announced. He was 88.

Barry's credits also included And Fat Freddy's Blues, staged at the O'Neill Theatre Center in Waterford, Connecticut; Heritage, about the women in Abraham Lincoln's life; and other works at the Hudson Guild Theater in New York, where he served as artistic director. He also ran the Fulton Theatre Company.

The Octette Bridge Club revolves around eight sisters of Irish ancestry who meet twice a month to play cards and gossip. Starring Nancy Marchand and Peggy Cass, it had 24 performances on Broadway after opening on March 5, 1985, and has been produced more than 800 times worldwide.

A native of Coventry, Rhode Island, and a longtime resident of Greenwich Village, Barry attended the University of California and served in the Korean War, entertaining the troops in variety shows. He later performed in regional theater, did commercials and appeared on As the World Turns and Law & Order and in For Love of the Game (1999). 

Survivors also include son Neill, an actor and writer, and daughter Nina, an actress.