Christopher Fry was an English poet and playwright. He was born in Bristol, England, on December 18, 1907, to Charles John Harris, a master builder and lay preacher in the Church of England, and Emma Marguerite Fry Hammond Harris. Born Arthur Hammond Harris, the playwright adopted the surname Fry for his maternal grandmother. In his late twenties he adopted the name Christopher Fry. Fry attended the Bedford Modern School, where he developed an appreciation for the theater. It is here that he wrote his first play at age 11. In 1929, after working briefly as a teacher, Fry devoted himself to the dramatic arts. In addition to acting, directing, and writing, he also ran a repertory company in Tunbridge Wells, which he founded in 1932. In 1939 Fry became the artistic director of the Oxford Playhouse.
Christopher Fry was a prolific playwright. Major theatrical works include: The Boy with a Cart (1938), The Tower (1939), A Phoenix too Frequent (1946), The Firstborn (1948), Thor, With Angels (1948), The Lady’s Not For Burning (1948), Venus Observed (1950), The Dark Is Light Enough (1954), and A Yard of Sun (1970). Adaptations include Ring around the Moon (1950) and The Lark (1955) by Jean Anouilh, Tiger at the Gates (1956), Duel of Angels (1958), and Judith (1962) by Jean Giraudoux, and Peer Gynt (1970) by Henrik Ibsen. Fry was also the screenwriter for the following movies: The Beggar’s Opera (1953), Ben-Hur (1959), The Bible: In the Beginning (1966), and Barabbas (1969).
Christopher Fry was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play in 1956 for his adaptation of Giraudoux’s play Tiger at the Gates. He was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 1962. In the same year he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. In 1999 The Lady’s not for Burning was voted as one of the best plays of the twentieth century in a poll conducted by the National Theater. Fry died in Chichester, England, June 30, 2005.