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Stephen Morehouse Avery (December 20, 1893 – February 10, 1948) was an American author of Hollywood screenplays. His daughter is the actress Phyllis Avery.
Avery was born to Charles M. and Jesse Avery in Webster Groves, a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri. The senior Avery was a cashier at an insurance company. Stephen Avery attended the University of Missouri at Columbia and was employed in Detroit, Michigan, before he began professional writing.
Avery wrote for national publications until 1933, when he began to specialize in screenplays. His work included Wharf Angel (1934), Our Little Girl (1935), One Rainy Afternoon (1936) with Ida Lupino and Francis Lederer, The Gorgeous Hussy (1936) with Joan Crawford, I'll Take Romance (1937), Four Mothers (1941), The Male Animal (1942), starring Henry Fonda and Olivia de Havilland and based on a James Thurber play and Deep Valley (1947), with Ida Lupino and Dane Clark, the story of a lonely woman living on a farm who is smitten by an escaped convict.
Shortly before his death of a heart attack at his Los Angeles, California, apartment at the age of fifty-four, Avery penned the scripts for The Woman in White (1948) and Every Girl Should Be Married (1948), a romantic comedy starring Cary Grant and Betsy Drake. In 1935, he was nominated with Don Hartman for an Academy Award for Best Story for The Gay Deception, a film unrelated to homosexuality and not to be confused with two other comedy films with similar titles, The Gay Deceiver (1926) and The Gay Deceivers (1969). In the story, Mirabel, portrayed by Frances Dee, wins a $5,000 lottery, a near fortune in 1935, and moves to New York City, where she meets Sandro, played by Francis Lederer, a bellboy who is really a prince. The film was directed by William Wyler.
Avery was survived by his wife, the former Marian Baldwin, and his only child, Phyllis Avery (born 1924), who launched her acting career in 1951. Among other stars, Phyllis Avery was cast opposite Charlton Heston, George Gobel, Richard Egan, Chuck Connors, Lew Ayres, and Ray Milland.