His mother taught piano to help support the family and was a member of a musical society.
As in the Greek myth where Pygmalion falls in love with a statue that he has carved, so too does phonetics professor Henry Higgins fall in love with his creation, a transformed Lady of Society. In 1938 he won the Oscar award for Best Screenplay for his film adaptation of Pygmalion starring Leslie Howard and Wendy Hiller.
In 1956 it was first adapted as a musical titled "My Fair Lady".
His sister Agnes died of tuberculosis in 1876, the same year that Bernhard (he dropped the use of his first name George at this time) moved out of his father's home and travelled to London, England, where his mother had moved a few years earlier to teach singing. This led him to write critiques and essays on various subjects, often with irony and humour.
Emerging themes in his works were marriage, education, politics, class struggle, and religion.