A lifelong Denver resident, Mary Coyle graduated from West High School at 15 and enrolled at the University of Colorado. As a 17-year-old reporter for the Rocky Mountain News, Mary covered everything from three-alarm fires, and society events to Denver Athletic Club prizefights. Meanwhile, her outrageous pranks, quick wit, and active imagination made her famous and prepared her for life as a playwright. Colorado’s first Pulitzer Prize-winner in this category, Mary Coyle Chase was also a true Irish lass reared on legends of banshees and leprechauns. This upbringing influenced her writing. Mary’s journalism days instilled in her priceless qualities: A sense of fairness, objectivity, and a human touch to her writing.
Mary married fellow reporter Robert Lamont Chase and the couple had three sons. She worked at the newspaper until when one of her telephone pranks to and editor working to meet a deadline got her fired. She briefly got re-hired but quit to pursue her plays and raise her sons. Accordingly, her 15 plays each have at least one imaginary character. Mary’s most renowned play and her 1945 Pulitzer winner, Harvey, tells the tale of a six-foot rabbit pookah seen only by Elwood P. Dowd. She said she wrote Harvey to help war-sick families laugh. Harvey ran on Broadway 4 and one-half years, and traveled in Europe and Australia.