Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Daniel Frohman, Theatrical Producer

Daniel Frohman was the oldest of three Frohman brothers born in Sandusky, who all moved to New York City and became well known as theatrical producers and managers.

Born on August 22, 1851, Daniel was the son of Henry and Barbara (Strauss) Frohman. When Daniel Frohman first moved to New York as a teenager, he worked as an office boy at the New York Tribune. In 1874 he began working as an advance agent for Callender's Georgia Minstrels. He later became associated with the Madison Square Theatre and the Fifth Avenue Theatre Company. From 1887 to 1909, Daniel Frohman was the producer-manager of the Lyceum Theatre and its stock company. He launched the careers of many actors and including Henry Miller, E.H. Sothern, Maude Adams, and Richard Mansfield. Later he became involved in the motion picture business with Adolph Zukor. He was connected with the production of more than seventy films between 1913 and 1917. From 1903 to 1940, he was president of the of the Actors’ Fund of America.

In November of 1939, Daniel Frohman fell and fractured his hip. He went to the Leroy Sanitarium for treatment. At the age of 89, he passed away on December 26, 1940. The Washington Post carried an article about him on December 27, 1940. The Post reported that shortly before he died Frohman said, “The curtain’s coming down.” Dr. J. Q. Pressner, who had attended Mr. Frohman, said that his last days were spent reminiscing about his old theater friends. Funeral services for Daniel Frohman were held at the Little Church Around the Corner, and burial was at Union Field Cemetery. The Actors’ Fund of America prepared a resolution expressing their grief on December 27, 1940.

It was signed by the officers and trustees of the Actors’ Fund of America, including George M. Cohan.

The Sandusky Library Archives Research Center owns two books written by Daniel Frohman, one entitled Daniel Frohman Presents, and the other entitled Encore. The books chronicle Frohman’s many years in the theatrical world. Of particular interest is “Daniel Frohman’s Album,” which appears at the end of Daniel Frohman Presents. The album features many pictures of early twentieth century actors and actresses.

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