Barry wrote or rewrote screenplays for several notable films including The River starring Mel Gibson and Sissy Spacek, Eyes of Laura Mars starring Faye Dunaway and Tommy Lee Jones, and Rhinoceros, starring Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder, Me, Myself and I, starring George Segal and Jobeth Williams, and the American Playhouse production for PBS, A Marriage - Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz, starring Christopher Plummer and Jane Alexander. He also appeared as himself in the film documentary Pablo, about the graphic artist and film director Pablo Ferro.
His autobiography My Night With Orson was published in 2011.
Barry was born in 1930 and raised in Riverdale, the North Bronx. He played saxophone for his high school band, and traveled to jazz clubs in New York City to hear jazz performed by Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane.
After high school, Barry attended Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York, where he majored in drama and performed in university productions with comedian Jerry Stiller. He was drafted into the Army during the Korean War and served until 1953.