Eddie Doherty

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Eddie Doherty
Edward Joseph Doherty

October 30, 1890
Chicago, US
DiedMay 4, 1975
Combermere, Canada
NationalityAmerican, naturalized Canadian
OccupationReporter, author, founder of Madonna House Apostolate
Spouse(s)Catherine Doherty
ChildrenEdward Doherty Jr., Jack Jim Doherty

Edward J. "Eddie" Doherty (October 30, 1890 – May 4, 1975) was an American newspaper reporter, author and Oscar-nominated screenwriter. He is the co-founder of the Madonna House Apostolate, and later ordained a priest in the Melkite Greek Catholic Church.

Life and career[edit]

Eddie Doherty was born in Chicago in 1890 to Police Lieutenant Edward Doherty and Ellen Rodgers. He was the eldest of ten children in the Irish Catholic family. At the age of 13 he entered a Servite monastery in Wisconsin. After two years he left the seminary, returned to Chicago, and went to work at the City Press.[1]

Starting as a newspaper copy boy, Doherty worked at various other Chicago newspapers, including the Examiner, the Record-Herald, the Tribune, the Herald, and the American. It was at the American that he began writing columns. He married his childhood sweetheart, Marie Ryan, on December 15, 1914. His wife died in the 1918 flu epidemic, leaving him with a baby son. In his sorrow, Doherty left the Church.[1]

The following summer he married his second wife, Mildred Frisby, on July 16, 1919. Doherty had a second son, Jack Jim. Back at the Tribune, he helped establish the Joseph Medill School of Journalism. Eddie Doherty and his wife and two children moved west, and started working for the Chicago Tribune's Hollywood bureau. He "made his reputation initially covering such scandals as the Wallace Reid case and the Fatty Arbuckle trial". The News' trucks and billboards proclaimed him "The Star Reporter of America"; The Mirror "billed him as America's Highest Paid Reporter".[1]

In 1939, Mildred died in a freak accident (from a fall) while out for a walk alone.[2] This time, however, Doherty found peace for his grieving in returning to the Catholic Church.

In 1940, Doherty met Baroness Catherine de Hueck at her Friendship House mission while doing a story on Harlem. Their friendship turned to romance, and they wed on June 25, 1943.

In 1944, Doherty's screenplay for the World War II film The Sullivans was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Story.

Meanwhile, the staff at Friendship House did not take well to Catherine's marriage to Doherty, and complained that Catherine no longer lived in celibacy as they were required to do. This and other differences eventually led to Eddie and Catherine moving to Combermere, Ontario, Canada and starting a new apostolate called Madonna House in 1947. Here they founded their own newspaper, Restoration, which has remained in continuous circulation.

In 1969, Doherty obtained permission to transfer from the Latin Church to the Byzantine Rite Melkite Greek Catholic Church (which allows married men to become priests), and on August 15, 1969, Doherty was ordained a Catholic priest at the age of seventy-eight by Archbishop Joseph Raya.

In 1975, after a period of ill-health and surgery, Doherty slipped into a coma. He died the next day, on May 4, 1975. A simple wooden cross marks his grave, reading "All my words for the Word."

See also[edit]


  • Bazzett, Mary. The Life of Eddie Doherty. Combermere: Madonna House Publications, 1998.

External links[edit]