Famous Last Words
May 7, 1915
“Why fear death? It is the most beautiful adventure that life gives us.”
Frohman, a theatrical producer, had been aboard the RMS Lusitania when it was struck by a torpedo fired from a German U-boat. Frohman had injured his knee years before and required a cane to walk. Because of this disability, he was unable to jump into a lifeboat. He seemed content with his fate as he and several of his friends were seen casually chatting and smoking cigars while other passengers panicked around them. Later, Frohman and businessman Alfred Vanderbilt tied life preservers to baskets to fashion makeshift lifeboats for infants still aboard the ship.
Frohman, Vanderbilt, and three others who remained aboard the ship held hands during the final moments as Frohman issued his final words, paraphrased from one of the most successful plays he produced: Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up. The final statement was witnessed by silent film actress Rita Jolivet, the only person in their group to survive. The sinking of the Lusitania claimed 1,198 lives.