Antholis grew up in Florham Park, New Jersey and attended the Delbarton School in Morris Township, New Jersey. He is a 1984 graduate of Bowdoin College, earned a master's degree in History at Stanford University with a focus on the historical role European nations in Africa and graduated from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1989. He has one brother, William J. Antholis, managing director of the Brookings Institution.
As an executive, he has been responsible for Academy Award, Emmy and Golden Globe-winning projects, both dramatic and documentary, including Mildred Pierce, The Pacific, John Adams, Generation Kill, Elizabeth I, Angels in America, The Corner, Wit, The Gathering Storm, From the Earth to the Moon and Educating Peter.
As a filmmaker he won the Academy Award for Documentary Short Subject (1995) and the Emmy for Outstanding Information Special (1994–95) for his film One Survivor Remembers about Holocaust survivor, Gerda Weissmann Klein. Exploring Gerda's story offered him an extraordinarily vivid connection to his own mother's experiences during the war. Antholis' mother Evanthia grew up in Nazi-occupied Greece during World War II. Weissmann's story helped Antholis understand what his mother went through when her father, Vassilios, was killed by Nazi collaborators. In 2005, the film was offered by the Southern Poverty Law Center as part of a Teaching Tolerance curriculum for high school teachers to teach their students about the realities of the Holocaust.
Antholis is currently President for Miniseries at HBO.
- "Our Team - Young Storytellers". Young Storytellers. Retrieved 2017-05-03.
- Fiddes, Jessica. "Looking for Diamonds" Archived 2011-07-18 at the Wayback Machine., Delbarton Today, Spring/Summer 2009. Accessed August 25, 2009.
- Stanmyre, Matthew. "New Jersey high school sports traditions: Here is Delbarton's, tell us about yours", The Star-Ledger, October 13, 2009. Accessed February 15, 2011. "Delbarton, which is situated on a sprawling, tree-lined campus in Morristown, opened in 1939 and produced its first graduating class of 12 students in 1948. Today, there are 541 students at the school, which boasts alumni such as the NBA's Troy Murphy, former New Jersey congressman Mike Ferguson and Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Kary Antholis."
- Wilson, David McKay. "Making Masterpieces", Bowdoin Magazine, Spring 2004. Accessed August 27, 2008.
- "William J. Antholis, Brookings Institution". The Brookings Institution. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
- "Kary Antholis Academy Awards Acceptance Speech". The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science. March 25, 1996. Retrieved 10 August 2012.[permanent dead link]
- Kronke, David. "Winslet, Haynes team for 'Mildred Pierce'", Variety Online, Posted: Mon., Nov. 8, 2010, 4:00am PT.
- Goldman, Rachel. "Antholis '84 combines intrigue, narrative and history at HBO", Bowdoin Orient, Volume CXXXIX, Number 17, February 26, 2010.