Anne Nichols was born in Dales Mill, Georgia, and grew up in Philadelphia. She ran away from home at 16 to become an actress. By age 20, she had appeared on stage and in two early silent movies. In 1915, she married Henry Duffy, a fellow actor. With Adelaide Matthews, she wrote her first two full-length plays, Heart's Desire (1916) and Just Married (1922). She also wrote the book for several musicals. However, she's most famous as the author of the highly successful comedy Abie's Irish Rose (1922), which ran for five years on Broadway, setting a record, and was adapted into two movies and a radio series that aired from 1942 to 1944. She also wrote several other plays and directed, and later managed property for the Actors' Fund.