Stephen Fry Family History


Stephen John Fry was born on August 24th, 1957 to Alan and Marianne Fry in Hampstead, London.

The family moved to Norfolk when he was young and Stephen was sent away to boarding school.  However, the next few years were messy.  He was expelled from Uppingham School, failed his A-Levels, and was arrested for stealing a credit card.

He did turn it around.  He retook his exams and was admitted to Cambridge University on a scholarship in 1977.  There he took his first steps into comedy when he joined up with Hugh Laurie, Emma Thompson and Tony Slattery in the Cambridge Footlights Revue.  They all subsequently brought their talents to the BBC and appeared in a number of hit TV comedy shows during the 1980’s.

Since then his own range has widened from comedy into acting, broadcasting, directing and writing very successfully.  But life has not always been easy for him.  He has suffered from bipolar disorder, a mood disorder that is characterized by periods of extreme depression.  As a gay man, he has been a long-time admirer of the writer Oscar Wilde, whose character he portrayed in the 1997 film Wilde.

His Paternal Ancestry

Stephen Fry’s paternal ancestors are thought to have come from Dorset. Possibly he was related to John Fry, a Dorset man who signed the death warrant for Charles I in 1648.  He may also have been related to the Quaker Frys who founded the chocolate company.  Stephen’s great uncle George had in fact written a booklet in 1928 entitled The Saxon Origins of the Fry Family which refuted their claims that they were of Norman origin.

In the early 1800’s Samuel Fry moved to London.  This Samuel was supposedly the second son of James Fry of Shillingstone near Blandford, born in 1751, and a descendant of William Fry who was born there in 1687.  However, other sources have given Samuel Fry’s father as someone else.

Samuel and his descendants lived in Victorian times in Shoreditch, Finsbury and Stamford Hill in the east part of London.  Ella Pring who married John Fry in 1925 came from a very poor background, her father dying of TB two years before she got married.  John and Ella were later able to better themselves and to move onto Barnet and then to Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire.

His Maternal Ancestry

Stephen’s mother Marianne was Jewish.  Her parents, Martin and Rosa Neumann, were Hungarian Jews who emigrated to Britain in 1927.  Martin, a larger-than-life Jewish émigré, had worked at Europe’s largest sugar beet factory in Surany, Slovakia.  Because of his expertise in the sugar industry, he was recruited as an advisor at a newly established sugar beet factory at Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk.  Rosa’s parents stayed behind.  They lived in Vienna and were sent in 1942 to a concentration camp in Latvia where they were murdered by the Nazis.

Their daughter Marianne met Alan Fry when they were both students at London University in the early 1950’s, Marianne in history and Alan in physics.  They married and moved to Hampstead which was where Stephen Fry was born in 1957.

Stephen Fry’s Family Tree

  • Samuel Fry (1781-1861), from Dorset to London
  • – Robert William Fry (1827-1899)
  • Robert William Fry m. Elizabeth Graves (1828-1906) in London in 1852
  • – George Samuel Fry (1853-1928) m. Artemisia Cleversley
  • – John Henry Fry (1862-1936)
  • John Henry Fry m. Elizabeth Young (1867-1942) in London in 1889
  • – John William Fry
  • John William Fry (1892-1961) m. Ella Pring (1895-1955) in London in 1925
  • – Alan John Fry (1930-2019)
  • Alan John Fry m. Marianne Neumann (b. 1932) in London in 1954
  • – Roger Fry (b. 1955)
  • – Stephen Fry (b. 1957)
  • – Joanna (Jo) Fry (b. 1965)
  • Stephen Fry m. Elliott Spencer (b. 1987) in Norfolk in 2015



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Written by Colin Shelley

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