Brock Pemberton
Brock Pemberton

Brock Pemberton (December 14, 1885 – March 11, 1950) was an American theatrical producer, director and founder of the Tony Awards. He was the professional partner of Antoinette Perry, co-founder of the American Theatre Wing,[1] and he was also a member of the Algonquin Round Table.[2]


Pemberton was born in Leavenworth, Kansas and attended the College of Emporia where he joined Phi Delta Theta fraternity and the University of Kansas, before becoming a reporter for the New York Times and later a press agent in New York City. Later, Pemberton directed and produced the American premiere of Luigi Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author in 1922,[3] as well as its first Broadway revival two years later.[4] In 1926, he produced and directed a Sam Janney play[5] that became the film Loose Ankles in 1930, starring a young Loretta Young and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. In 1929 he produced and directed Preston Sturges' play Strictly Dishonorable, which was filmed twice, in 1931 and again in 1951.

Among his other productions was Miss Lulu Bett, whose writer Zona Gale became the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize in Drama, Personal Appearance by Lawrence Riley, which was a Broadway hit and was later turned into the film Go West, Young Man and Harvey, Mary Chase's play about a man whose best friend is a large imaginary rabbit, later made into a film starring Jimmy Stewart.

Pemberton gave the Antoinette Perry Award its nickname, the Tony. As Perry's official biography at the Tony Awards website states, "At [Warner Bros. story editor] Jacob Wilk's suggestion, [Pemberton] proposed an award in her honor for distinguished stage acting and technical achievement. At the initial event in 1947, as he handed out an award, he called it a Tony. The name stuck.[1]

From February 28, 1950 thru March 5, 1950, Pemberton played the lead in a production of Harvey at the Sombrero Playhouse in Phoenix, Arizona.[6] Six days later he died at home from a heart attack.[7]

Months after his death in 1950, a Tony Award was given to him posthumously in recognition of his role as the founder and the original chairman of the Tony Awards.


  1. ^ a b Nassour, Ellis. "Who Is 'Tony'". Retrieved 2007-05-13.
  2. ^ "Members of the Algonquin Round Table". Archived from the original on 2011-09-29. Retrieved 2010-02-12.
  3. ^ "Six Characters in Search of an Author" (1922) at the Internet Broadway Database
  4. ^ "Six Character in Search of an Author" (1924) at the Internet Broadway Database
  5. ^ Loose Ankles a Broadway play at Biltmore Theatre Aug. 1926-Jan. 1927
  6. ^ Ferrell, Carol (March 1, 1950). "Harvey's Visit To Sombrero Creates Uproar In Phoenix". The Arizona Republic. Phoenix, Arizona. p. 6 – via
  7. ^ "Brock Pemberton Dies At Home In New York". The Arizona Republic. Phoenix, Arizona. March 12, 1950. p. 1 – via