Charles Frohman

Charles Frohman

July 15, 1856 to May 7, 1915

website copyright © 2017 Charles Pascoe

Charles Frohman was born on July 15, 1856 in Sandusky, Ohio, USA.
His parents were German immigrants, Henry and Barbara Frohman.
Charles had two older brothers, Daniel and Gustave.
He lived his life as a theatrical producer. Some would say he was the greatest theatre producer ever.
He would never marry.
He died on May 7, 1915 in the Atlantic Ocean during the torpedoing of the RMS Lusitania.


Charles Frohman (or CF to his friends) was one of the greatest theatre impresarios to have ever lived. He rose from humble beginnings in Sandusky in Ohio to run a huge number of famous theatres in London, New York and Paris. He was a great friend and supporter of J M Barrie and he staged the first production of Peter Pan in December 1904 at the Duke of York Theatre when no other producer would back it. The play was an immediate success and was run by Frohman in his theatres round the world until his untimely death. It has continued to enthrall millions of children over the succeeding decades right up to the present day. Frohman visited England every summer from 1900 and he often visited Marlow which he regarded as the most beautiful spot in the entire world, particularly admiring the view from The Causeway over the bridge and the river to The Compleat Angler. During the First World War, the threat of U-boat attack on merchant shipping plying the Atlantic was very real and CF is reported as having many premonitions of an attack. He took the precaution of dictating his entire program for the next season before sailing, something that was unprecedented for him. He also made several jokes including: "Well, Al, if you want to write to me, just address the letter care of the German Submarine, U-4." "When you consider all the stars I have managed, mere submarines make me smile." Sadly, his premonitions were accurate and he lost his life in the sinking of the Lusitania by a German submarine. He chose to stay on the sinking ship and was reported by a survivor to say "Why fear death? It is the most beautiful adventure of life," echoing the famous line from Peter Pan, "To die would be an awfully big adventure". His body was washed ashore on the west coast of Ireland and he was buried in a Jewish Cemetery in New York City. (biography courtesy of Geoff Wood)