Producer Robert Fryer, whose credits include the legit “Sweet Charity,” “Mame,” “Sweeney Todd” and “Chicago” and such films as “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie” and “Myra Breckinridge,” died Sunday of complications from Parkinson’s disease in Los Angeles. He was 79.
Fryer served as artistic director of the Ahmanson Theatre from 1971 to 1989. While there, he produced 71 shows, including five world preems of Neil Simon comedies, as well as revivals of works by Noel Coward, Arthur Miller, Eugene O’Neill and Tennessee Williams. Stars who appeared under his stewardship there included Katharine Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Rex Harrison, Carol Channing, Angela Lansbury and Mary Martin.
Most recently, he produced Broadway versions of three Michael Frayn works: “Benefactors,” “Noises Off” and “Wild Honey.” He was working on a film version of “Chicago” at the time of his death.
His other film producing credits include “The Boston Strangler,” “The Abdication,” “Travels With My Aunt” and “The Voyage of the Damned,” while he was exec producer on “The Boys From Brazil.”
Fryer was born in Washington, D.C., the son of a department store manager. After graduating with a B.A. from Western Reserve U. in Cleveland, he served during World War II as a captain in the Army.
His legit career began as assistant to the producer of the Old Vic theater company during its visiting season at the New Century Theatre in New York in 1946.
After years with the stage, Fryer became producer for the popular CBS TV series “Studio One” from 1949 to 1951. He was also casting director for more than 30 programs for the same network from 1951 to 1953.
Returning to the stage, Fryer’s credits as producer or co-producer included “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” “Wonderful Town,” “By the Beautiful Sea,” “Desk Set,” “On the Twentieth Century” and “Norman Conquests.”
He is survived by a sister two nephews and a niece.
Memorials are pending and will be held on both coasts.