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Fay Wray Fay Wray
Born: September 15, 1907
Died: August 08, 2004 (at the age of 96)

Fay Wray is regarded as by Hollywood as the first "Scream Queen". She is also best known as the Giant Monkey's Love Interest in "King Kong" (1933).

Fay Wray

Born Vina Fay Wray on September 15, 1907 on a ranch near Cardston, Alberta Canada. Her father Joseph Heber Wray, who was from Kingston upon Hull, England and her mother Elvina Marguerite Jones, who was from Salt Lake City, Utah. Her family moved to the United States a few years after she was born. In 1912 they moved to Salt Lake City, and in 1914 to Lark, Utah and in 1919 back to Salt Lake City and then to Hollywood, California where Fay would attend Hollywood High School. After the move to California her parents divorced putting the family in hard times.

Fay Wray Fay Wray In 1923, Wray (now at the age of 16) appeared in her first film "Gasoline Love" (1923) in a short historical film sponsored by a local newspaper. She landed many roles in Silent Films and Shorts throughout the 1920's. In 1926 the Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers selected Wray as one of 13 young starlets to be a "WAMPAS Baby Stars", a group of women who they believed to be on the threshold of movie stardom. Also selected for the the "WAMPAS Baby Stars" group were Janet Gaynor and Mary Astor. The next year, 1927, Wray was signed to a contract with Paramount Pictures. In 1928, she was selected to be the female lead in the film "The Wedding March" (1928). Even though this film was a financial failure this gave Wray the lead role she needed. She would make more than a dozen films for Paramount and would allow her to make the transition from Silents to Talkies.

On June 4, 1928 Wray's brother, J. Vivian Wray, committed suicide by throwing himself in front of a streetcar in Stockton, California. J. Vivian had suffered from a mental disorder and was in a sanitarium but had escaped.

On June 15, 1928 Fay would marry John Monk Saunders who was a screenwriter.

Fay Wray with Lee Tracy in Doctor X (1932)
Fay Wray with Lee Tracy in "Doctor X" (1932)

Fay Wray After leaving Paramount Wray signed deals with various film companies. She would appear in such horror films as "Doctor X" (1932) with Lionel Atwill, "The Vampire Bat" (1933) also with Lionel Atwill and Dwight Frye, and she also appeared in Her first horror film was for "Mystery of the Wax Museum" (1933) again alongside Lionel Atwill. Wray would then be approached by producer Merian C. Cooper to star alongside a tall, dark, leading man for an RKO Radio Picture. She would find she was cast as the female lead "Ann Darrow" to a giant gorilla and she would be identified to this role in the classic "King Kong" (1933) alongside Robert Armstrong. With the release of "King Kong" (1933), this is what saved RKO from bankruptcy.

Fay Wray Publicity from King Kong
Faye Wray and Robert Armstrong Publicity Picture from "King Kong" (1933)

Fay Wray Publicity from King Kong
Bruce Cabot, Faye Wray,and Robert Armstrong Publicity Picture from "King Kong" (1933)

In 1935, Fay Wray became a naturalized citizen of the United States.

After "Kong" Wray was put into low-budet action films in the 30's. Her 11-year marriage to John Monk Saunders ended in divorce on December 12, 1939 they had a daughter, Susan Saunders, together.

On August 23, 1942 Fay would marry her second husband, Robert Riskin, a writer. Her career was almost over at this time making only a few films in the 1940's.

Fay Wray

Wray would make a comeback in 1953, playing Natalie Wood's Mother in "The Pride of the Family" (1953) TV Series. She would appear in more mature roles in films and television throughout the 1960's.

On September 20, 1955, Robert Riskin, Wray's second husband died. They had 2 children together, a son, Robert Riskin Jr and a daughter Victoria Riskin.

On August 06, 1971 Fay would marry Dr Sanford (Sandy) Rothenberg (he was a brain surgeon).

Wray's las film was a made-for-television film called "Gideon's Trumpet" (1980) (a Hallmark Hall of Fame Film).

In 1988 Fay Wray's autobiography "On the Other Hand" was published.

On January 18, 1991, Wray's Third Husband, Dr Sanford (Sandy) Rothenberg, died. Later that same year Wray was the guest of honor at the 60th birthday of the Empire State Building in New York City.

Fay Wray

In 1998, on the "70th Annual Academy Awards" a clip of "King Kong" (1933) was introduced by host Billy Crystal. During the clip Crystal came offstage and stood beside Fay Wray, who was in attendance of the event. As the clip ended and the light came up Crystal introduced her as the "Beauty who charmed the Beast, the Legendary Fay Wray". Fay was caught off guard not noticing that Billy Crystal had came down during the clip, she rose rose from her seat to rapturous applause and waved. Billy Crystal gently teased her that she was on "This Is Your Life" (1952) and thanked her for being a part of the evening. Miss Wray smiled with gratitude.

In January 2003, Wray (now 95-years old) was awarded the "Legend in Film" Award at the Palm Beach International Film Festival when she appeared there in person.

Fay Wray Later Years

Fay Wray became friends with Peter Jackson who was a major fan of hers. While he was developing remake of "King Kong". Wray had gotten to meat Naomi Watts who would play "Ann Darrow" in the 2005 film and approved of her for the part. Peter Jackson wanted Fay to say the closing lines of his remake but unfortunatly Fay Wray passed away before it could happen.

Fay Wray passed away quietly of natural causes at the age of 96 in her apartment in Manhattan on Sunday Evening August 8, 2004 of Natural Causes. On August 10, 2004 (2 days after her death) the lights on the Empire State Building in New York City were dimmed for 15 minutes in her memory.

Fay Wray was a wonderful actress and she never really got the chance to show her abilities, but what we do have of hers is just wonderful to watch. SHe will always be one of the the great actresses in my opinion. On the main street of her birthplace, Cardston, Alberta, Canada, there is the "Fay Wray Fountain." On June 5, 2005 she received a star posthumously on Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto. On May 22, 2006 Canadian Post issued four 51¢ Canadian commemorative postage stamps honoring "Canadians in Hollywood", Fay Wray was one of the the four the others honored in this set were John Candy, Lorne Greene, and Mary Pickford. This is the first four entertainers to ever be honored by Canadian Post on Stamps.

Wray is referenced twice in "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" (1975). During the floorshow, Frank says, "Whatever happened to Fay Wray/that delicate, satin-draped frame/as it clung to her thigh, how I started to cry/cause I wanted to be dressed just the same" and again in the opening song "then something went wrong/for Fay Wray and King Kong/they got caught in a celluloid jam".

Fay Wray was buried at at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, in Hollywood, California.

Fay Wray has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6349 Hollywood Blvd.

Fay Wray WOF Star at 6349 Hollywood Blvd

Fay Wray\

------------ Films -----------
(1980)Gideon's Trumpet (TV Movie) Edna Curtis
(1965)”Perry Mason” - The Case of the Fatal Fetish (1965) Mignon Germaine
(1959)”Perry Mason” - - The Case of the Watery Witness (1959) Lorna Thomas
(1958)”Perry Mason” - - The Case of the Prodigal Parent (1958) Ethel Harrison
(1964)”The Eleventh Hour” - You're So Smart, Why Can't You Be Good? Mrs. Brubaker
(1962)”Wagon Train” - The Cole Crawford Story Mrs. Edwards
(1961)”General Electric Theater” - Money and the Minister Mrs. Bassett
(1958)”General Electric Theater” - The Odd Ball (1958)
(1957)”General Electric Theater” - The Iron Horse Mrs. Turner
(1961)”The Real McCoys” - Theatre in the Barn Fay Wray
(1960)”The Islanders” - Flight from Terror Mrs. Staunton
(1960)”Hawaiian Eye” - Bequest of Arthur Goodwin Amelia Goodwin
(1960)”77 Sunset Strip” - Who Killed Cock Robin Clara
(1959)”Playhouse 90” - The Second Happiest Day Tula Marsh
(1959)”The David Niven Show” - The Promise Allison
(1959)”Alfred Hitchcock Presents” - The Morning After Mrs. Nelson
(1958)”Alfred Hitchcock Presents” - Dip in the Pool Mrs. Renshaw
(1958)”Schlitz Playhouse” - Penny Wise
(1958)Summer Love Beth Daley
(1958)Dragstrip Riot Norma Martin / Mrs. Martin
(1958)”Kraft Theatre” - Eddie
(1957)World in White (TV Movie) Mrs. Victor
(1957)”Telephone Time” - Alice's Wedding Gown Miss Perry
(1957)Tammy and the Bachelor Mrs. Brent
(1957)”Matinee Theatre” - Hymn to the Dedicated
(1957)”Jane Wyman Presents The Fireside Theatre” - Killer's Pride Mrs. Parr
(1955)”Jane Wyman Presents The Fireside Theatre” - Holiday in Autumn Myra
(1957)Crime of Passion Alice Pope
(1956)Rock, Pretty Baby Beth Daley
(1956)”Studio 57” - Exit Laughing
(1955)”Studio 57” - My Son Is Gone Mary Collins
(1956)”The 20th Century-Fox Hour” - In Times Like These Agnes Marsh
(1956)”Screen Directors Playhouse” - It's Always Sunday Mary Parker
(1955)Hell on Frisco Bay Kay Stanley
(1955)Queen Bee Sue McKinnon
(1955)”Damon Runyon Theater” - There's No Forever Mrs. Grace Harper
(1955)The Cobweb Edna Devanal
(1954)”The Pride of the Family” - Albie and the New Catherine Catherine Morrison
(1954)”The Pride of the Family” - Albie the Clown Catherine Morrison
(1953)”The Pride of the Family” - Income Tax Collector Catherine Morrison
(1953)”The Pride of the Family” - Albie's Dishwasher Catherine Morrison
(1953)”The Pride of the Family” - Portrait Story Catherine Morrison
(1953)”The Pride of the Family” - Pilot Catherine Morrison
(1953)”Cavalcade of America” - One Nation Indivisible
(1953)Small Town Girl Mrs. Kimbell
(1953)Treasure of the Golden Condor Annette, Marquise de St. Malo
(1942)Not a Ladies' Man Hester Hunter
(1941)Melody for Three Mary Stanley
(1941)Adam Had Four Sons Molly Stoddard
(1940)Wildcat Bus Ted Dawson
(1939)Navy Secrets Carol Mathews - Posing as Carol Evans
(1938)Smashing the Spy Ring Eleanor Dunlap
(1938)The Jury's Secret Linda Ware
(1937)Murder in Greenwich Village Kay Cabot aka Lucky
(1937)It Happened in Hollywood Gloria Gay
(1936)They Met in a Taxi Mary Trenton
(1936)Roaming Lady Joyce Reid
(1936)When Knights Were Bold Lady Rowena
(1935)White Lies Joan Mitchell
(1935)Come Out of the Pantry Hilda Beach-Howard
(1935)Alias Bulldog Drummond Ann Manders
(1935)The Clairvoyant Rene
(1934)Mills of the Gods Jean Hastings
(1934)Woman in the Dark Louise Loring
(1934)Cheating Cheaters Nan Brockton
(1934)The Richest Girl in the World Sylvia Lockwood
(1934)The Affairs of Cellini Angela
(1934)Black Moon Gail Hamilton
(1934)Viva Villa! Teresa
(1934)Once to Every Woman Mary Fanshane
(1934)The Countess of Monte Cristo Janet Krueger
(1934)Madame Spy Marie Franck
(1933)Master of Men Kay Walling
(1933)The Bowery Lucy Calhoun
(1933)One Sunday Afternoon Virginia Brush
(1933)Enemies of Society Cynthia Glennon
(1933)Shanghai Madness Wildeth Christie
(1933)The Woman I Stole Vida Carew
(1933)Ann Carver's Profession Ann Carver Graham
(1933)Below the Sea Diana
(1933)King Kong Ann Darrow
(1933)Mystery of the Wax Museum Charlotte Duncan
(1933)The Vampire Bat Ruth Bertin
(1932)The Most Dangerous Game Eve
(1932)Doctor X Joanne Xavier
(1932)Stowaway Mary Foster
(1931)The Unholy Garden Camille de Jonghe
(1931)The Lawyer's Secret Kay Roberts
(1931)The Finger Points Marcia Collins
(1931)The Stolen Jools (Short) Fay Wray
(1931)Dirigible Helen Pierce
(1931)Three Rogues Lee Carleton
(1931)The Conquering Horde Taisie Lockhart
(1930)Captain Thunder Ynez
(1930)The Sea God Daisy
(1930)Galas de la Paramount Sweetheart - Episode 'Dream Girl'
(1930)The Border Legion Joan Randall
(1930)The Texan Consuelo
(1930)Paramount on Parade Sweetheart (Dream Girl)
(1930)Behind the Make-Up Marie Gardoni
(1929)Pointed Heels Lora Nixon
(1929)Thunderbolt Ritzy
(1929)The Four Feathers Ethne Eustace
(1928)The Honeymoon Mitzi
(1928)The Wedding March Mitzi / Mitzerl Schrammell
(1928)The First Kiss Anna Lee
(1928)Street of Sin Elizabeth
(1928)The Legion of the Condemned Christine Charteris
(1927)Spurs and Saddles Mildred Orth
(1927)A One Man Game Roberta
(1927)Loco Luck Molly Vernon
(1926)Lazy Lightning Lila Rogers
(1926)The Show Cowpuncher (Short)
(1926)The Saddle Tramp (Short)
(1926)The Wild Horse Stampede Jessie Hayden
(1926)Don't Shoot (Short) Nancy Burton
(1926)The Man in the Saddle Pauline Stewart
(1926)Don Key (Son of Burro) (Short)
(1926)One Wild Time (Short)
(1925)Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ Slave Girl (unconfirmed, uncredited)
(1925)Moonlight and Noses (Short) Miss Sniff, the Professor's Daughter
(1925)A Lover's Oath (uncredited)
(1925)Your Own Back Yard (Short) Woman in Quarrelsome Couple
(1925)Unfriendly Enemies (Short) The Girl
(1925)No Father to Guide Him (Short) Beach House Cashier (uncredited)
(1925)Madame Sans Jane (Short)
(1925)Chasing the Chaser (Short) Nursemaid
(1925)Thundering Landlords (Short) The Wife
(1925)Isn't Life Terrible? (Short) Potential Pen-Buyer (uncredited)
(1925)What Price Goofy? (Short) Concerned Girl with Perfume (uncredited)
(1925)Sure-Mike! (Short) Salesgirl at Department Store
(1925)The Coast Patrol Beth Slocum
(1924)Just a Good Guy (Short) Girl Entering Taxi (uncredited)
(1924)Sweet Daddy (Short) Lady in car (uncredited)
(1923)Gasoline Love (Short)

------------ Broadway Plays -----------
Dec 08, 1941 -
Dec 12, 1941
Golden Wings Kay
Sep 30, 1941 -
Oct 04, 1941
Mr. Big Paula Loring
Sep 29, 1931 -
Oct 31, 1931
Nikki Nikki

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