Mary Antoinette Perry was born in Denver, Colorado and was drawn to the theatre through her contact with an uncle and aunt who were actors. After she married Frank W. Frueauff in 1909, she stopped acting, but returned to the stage (after his death) in 1924. She began directing in 1928: the most well-known play she directed is probably Harvey.
She helped found, and was chairman of, the American Theatre Wing which ran the Stage Door Canteens.
The year following her death in New York, the American Theatre Wing established the annual Antoinette Perry Awards in her name. They are universally known by their "nickname", the Tony Awards.