Charles Burgess (C. B.) Fry was born on 25th April 1872 at Croydon, Surrey, the eldest son of Lewis John Fry and Constance Isabella White who had married at Hove, Sussex in 1871. His early years were spent in Kent and East Sussex before winning a scholarship in 1885 to Repton School where he established himself as an all-round athlete, footballer and cricketer as well as being a prominent classics scholar. A scholarship to Wadham College, Oxford in 1891 led to four years where he excelled at sports, winning blues for cricket, football and athletics as well as setting the world long jump record and being an enthusiastic member of the Oxford University Dramatic Society and fine raconteur. However, a nervous breakdown led to a poor degree in humanities in 1895. On leaving university, his cricketing blossomed with Sussex, his adopted home, where C.B. Fry played from 1894 to 1908, and where he and Kumar Shri Ranjitsinhji had a formidable partnership. He played twenty-six test matches for England culminating in his final appearance in India in 1921–2, and he finished with career statistics of 30,886 runs at an outstanding average of 50.22; he scored 94 centuries.
Fry taught at Charterhouse from 1896 to 1898 before establishing himself as journalist and writer on cricket. He collaborated with Kumar Shri Ranjitsinhji and George Bedlam on various books on cricket and, with his wife, he wrote a novel about the world of cricket. C.B. Fry was a prolific journalist for The Captain, launched in 1899, and the Daily Express, which commenced in 1900 and, in 1904, The Newnes publishing house launched a magazine named after him for which he wrote numerous articles on many aspects of life until 1914 when the magazine ceased publication.
Fry married Beatrice Holme-Sumner on 4th June 1898 at St Pancras, London and the couple bore a son and two daughters. Beatrice had been the mistress of Charles Hoare, a partner in the family banking business, and after initial difficulties in the relationship, Fry's cricketing career was subsidized by Charles Hoare. On Hoare's death in 1908, Charles and Beatrice Fry took over the running of the training ship "Mercury" based at the Hamble in Hampshire and founded by Charles Hoare in 1885. Fry remained a Director of the training ship until 1950. Between the wars Fry suffered bouts of mental illness before returning to journalism at the Evening Standard in 1934 and he was very active for the rest of his life, in print, on radio, and on television. He wrote his autobiography, "Life Worth Living" in 1939.
Beatrice died in 1946 and Charles lived on for the next ten years until he died of kidney failure at the Middlesex Hospital, London, on 7th September 1956. A private funeral service was held at Golders Green crematorium on 11th September and his ashes were interred at Repton parish church on 28th September.