Christopher Fry was one of the most celebrated playwrights of the 20th century whose dazzling verbal invention led many to regard him as the Shakespeare of his time for his poetry and wit. Plays such as "The Lady's Not For Burning", "Venus Observed" and "The Dark Is Light Enough" have deservedly become modern classics. Laurence Olivier observed that Fry was a "dialogue sorcerer" and the critic Harold Hobson described him as "a master jeweler of words".
The list of actors and directors associated with Fry's work reads like a Who's Who of show-business: Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud, Michael Redgrave, Edith Evans, Vivien Leigh, Alec Clunes and Peter Brook. Fry continued to write plays into his nineties.
In the original West End production of "The Lady's Not For Burning", two unknown actors appeared in supporting roles - Richard Burton and Claire Bloom. In 1958, Fry co-scripted the film Ben-Hur (1959). He had already written the screenplay for The Beggar's Opera (1953) for Peter Brook. On Ben-Hur (1959), he was asked to write the scenes from the crucifixion onwards but ended up rewriting most of the film. Only the MGM scriptwriter Karl Tunberg is actually credited, but besides Fry, Gore Vidal was also involved.
Christopher Fry died on 30th June 2005, aged 97.