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Barry O’Brien was born in San Francisco, California, to a large Irish Catholic family. He attended Terra Linda High School, before joining Santa Clara University on a football scholarship, studying business and finance.[2]

While convalescing from a knee injury, O’Brien began writing his first television scripts, a successful submission resulting in a commission for the hit television series Happy Days.[3] For the next three decades he would script some of America’s most popular family shows, including Perfect Strangers, Judging Amy, Hangin' with Mr. Cooper, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Ghostbusters, Muppet Babies, The Jetsons, Fraggle Rock, and CSI: Miami, where he served as writer and executive producer.[4]

O’Brien’s biggest hit is Disney’s Hannah Montana, a concept he successfully pitched based on the premise of an incredibly famous teenager-with-a-double-life, an idea conceived during a tenure on Nickelodeon’s television series All That, where the (then) teenage American pop singer Britney Spears featured as a guest.[5]

Aside from writing for television, O’Brien co-wrote Jerry Bruckheimer’s Kangaroo Jack,[6] and two junior novels. He currently resides in Los Angeles, with his wife and two children.


Selected worksEdit

  • Hannah Montana Bind Up #2 (Super Sneak/ Truth or Dare), with Laurie McElroy (Disney Press, 2009) (ISBN 978-1423121473)
  • Ace London, with John Worsley, Kaj Melendez, and Mirza Javed (Fleetway Publications, 1962; Cuahtemoc Publishing Ltd, 2011) (ISBN 978-0957032101)

Awards and nominationsEdit

Nominated for an Edgar Award for (the) Best Television Episode Teleplay of 2008. (CSI: Miami, You May Now Kill the Bride)[7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ [1] New York Times: Barry O’Brien
  2. ^ [2] Santa Clara Magazine: Resurrection
  3. ^ [3] Santa Clara Magazine: Resurrection
  4. ^ [4] New York Times: Barry O’Brien
  5. ^ [5] Santa Clara Magazine: Hatching Hannah Montana
  6. ^ [6] BFI: Barry O’Brien
  7. ^ [7] Santa Clara Magazine: Resurrection