Born on 25 March 1837 and christened Charles Culverwell, he was the son of the surgeon Robert James Culverwell. Although he qualified as a physician, he was drawn to amateur theatricals in which he used the surname Wyndham, which he legally adopted in 1886. After a short-lived professional engagement at the Royalty Theatre in 1862, he went to America and enlisted with Union forces in the Civil War. During the war he also made appearances on the stage, notably as Osric in John Wilkes Booth’s “Hamlet” at Washington in April 1863. He returned to England in 1864, made some reputation as a light comedian, and took a company to tour America from 1871 to 1873 and again in 1883. Wyndham took over the Criterion Theatre and built the Wyndham on the corner of Charing Cross Road and the New Theatre in St Martin’s Lane, and he proceeded to turn them into some of the most important venues in London. He also continued to act, especially the title role in “David Garrick” (G0860), the popular play by Robertson that opened at the Criterion on 15 November 1886. Wyndham was knighted in 1902. He became a member of the Garrick Club in 1886.
In 1860 Wyndham married his first wife Emma Silberrad, who died in 1916. That year he married Mary Moore (1862-1931), the widow of the playwright James Albery. She was a fine actress who played leading roles opposite Wyndham, and after his death on 12 January 1919 she continued to conduct his managerial enterprises. After Mary Wyndham died, her son Bronson James (by Albery) and Sir Charles Wyndham’s son Howard (1865-1947) by his first wife (who had been the sister of the American dramatist Bronson Howard) took over control.