b. 18 November 1920, Washington, DC, USA, d. 28 May 2000, Los Angeles, California, USA. Fryer worked for some years as casting director for the New York stage before turning to production. His first Broadway show was a musical version of A Tree Grows In Brooklyn (1951), and he followed this with the very successful Wonderful Town (1953). Through the 50s and 60s, in collaboration with his business partner, Lawrence Carr, he was responsible for many shows, mostly musical comedies, a high proportion of which were very successful. Among these shows were By The Beautiful Sea (1954), Shangri-la (1956), Redhead (1959, winner of a Tony Award), Saratoga (1959), Hot Spot (1963, which starred Judy Holliday), and in 1966 Sweet Charity and Jerry Herman’s Mame, both of which were hugely successful, the latter earning a Tony award for Bea Arthur in a co-starring role.
Although he was not done with Broadway, Fryer produced a number of films, including The Boston Strangler (1968) and The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie (1969). He also produced the screen version of Mame (1974), starring Lucille Ball. This production completed a circle because one of his earlier non-musical stage productions had been Auntie Mame from which the musicals were derived. The film version of Mame was met with critical disapproval and audience indifference but on Fryer’s return to Broadway in the late 70s, he proved that he had not lost his touch. These years found him involved in the production of Chicago (1975), On The Twentieth Century (1978) and Sweeney Todd (1979). He began the 80s inauspiciously with poorly received productions of Merrily We Roll Along (1981) and A Doll’s Life (1982), but then, as artistic director at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, he co-produced Noises Off (1983) and Benefactors (1985).