Born into the Fry family in Bristol, the second son of Cecil Roderick Fry who as the last chairman of the J. S. Fry & Sons chocolate concern arranged for the sale of the company to rival Cadbury's, enraging the family. Jeremy was educated at Gordonstoun, and joined the Royal Air Force as a pilot. After the war, Jeremy took up motorsport driving a 500cc Parsenn but quit after his cousin Joe was killed at Blandford.
He became a product designer with Frenchay Products Ltd between 1954 and 1957. He founded Rotork Engineering Company in 1957 after identifying the potential of valve actuators. As Chairman he oversaw Rotork's rise to becoming the market leader in equipment for use in oil and gas pipelines, refineries, power stations and waste water plants, and a member of the FTSE 250 Index.
Noted as an inventor and engineer, his designs included a car, the Sea Truck (a flat boat ferry capable of carrying one car at high speed), and a four-wheel-drive wheelchair. Additionally he was responsible for starting James Dyson out on his own inventing career by mentoring him in 1970 at Rotork.
His friend Tony Richardson, film and theatre director, described Fry (and their many travels together) in his autobiography Long Distance Runner (London, 1993; pp187–90).
He was noted for his keen interest in the Arts and will be remembered as the saviour of the Theatre Royal, Bath. He bought the theatre in 1979 and as its Chairman oversaw its extensive renovation. In addition to being Chairman of the Northern Ballet Theatre he was the chairman of the Arnolfini Gallery in Bristol.
Fry married Camilla Grinling in 1955 (died 2000). They had two sons and two daughters and the marriage was dissolved in 1967. They lived at Widcombe Manor. Their daughter Polly claimed in 2004 that her biological father had in fact been Fry's friend Antony Armstrong-Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon, the husband of Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon; Fry described the claim as "utter nonsense".
- "Jeremy Fry: Obituary". The Daily Telegraph. 20 July 2005.
- "Entrepreneur and inventor Jeremy Fry dies". University of Bath newsletter. 21 July 2005.
- "Jeremy Fry: Obituary". The Times (London). 26 July 2005. "Socialite and host who also had the entrepreneur's touch"
- "Jeremy Fry: Obituary". The Independent. 27 July 2005. "Inventor-engineer whose ingenuity was matched by astonishing energy"
- "Jeremy Fry: Obituary". The Independent. 27 July 2005. Archived from the original on 2010-07-11.
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