12 March 1928
A junior high school teacher encouraged him to try out for admission to the School of Industrial Art in New York City. Among thousands of candidates, Barry was one of 100 who was accepted to the school in 1943.
After completing his studies, he was an inking assistant for his older brother, Dan Barry, who drew the Flash Gordon comic strip. Later, he pencilled the strips from time to time, and he often did uncredited stand-in jobs for his brother.
Having worked on both Tarzan and Flash Gordon, he went on to draw the world's most successful adventure comic strip, The Phantom for 33 years from 1962 to 1994, succeeding Ray Moore and Wilson McCoy. Barry is credited for giving the Phantom his modern look, which has not changed since he took over the strip. Creator Lee Falk liked his drawing style so much that he quickly decided to modernize the entire comic strip, giving Bengalla a black President and the Jungle Patrol a black colonel.
Barry frequently used pencil artists on the strip, working primarily as an inker (although he often drew entire stories when time permitted). Pencillers included George Olesen, Joe Giella, Bob Forgione, André LeBlanc and Carmine Infantino.
At the height of their popularity, Lee Falk and Sy Barry's Phantom stories were read by over 100 million people every day in newspapers and comic books. His stories are still irregularly published in countries such as Norway, Sweden, Finland and Australia, in comic books or hardcover collections.
Tired with the stressing deadlines he constantly had to face, Barry retired from the newspaper strip in 1994. He now uses most of his time to develop his painting skills, and likes to do landscape painting. He has also painted the Phantom several times, and some of his sketches have been used as covers for Phantom comics around the world.
He currently resides in Long Island with his wife Simmy. The couple have three children together.
Among his recent appearances and meeting with fans, was his trip to Scandinavia in 2001, where he met Norwegian and Swedish fans at several comic book conventions, and an appearance at the 2005 San Diego Comic Con.