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Also Known As: Vina Fay Wray Died: August 8, 2004
Born: September 15, 1907 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Alberta, CA Profession: actor, screenwriter

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Gripped in the giant hand of "King Kong" (1933) in a simulated New York City on the RKO backlot, Fay Wray emitted screams of terror that reverberated throughout a nation stunned by the Great Depression. By the time the Canadian native was cast in the role of Ann Darrow, human inamorata of the eighth Wonder of the World, Wray was already a successful Hollywood actress whose previous leading men included William Powell, Gary Cooper and Fredric March. Her reputation with the major studios undermined by her marriage to brilliant but unstable writer John Monk Saunders, Wray divorced, remarried and retired on her own terms in 1942. The death of her second husband, screenwriter Robert Riskin, drove the aging actress back to work in character parts, including a comical turn as an affluent hypochondriac in "Tammy and the Bachelor" (1957). An iconic figure in cult film circles, Wray eventually turned her back on performing to enjoy frequent public appearances as herself. Living well into her nineties, Wray turned down the offer to contribute a cameo appearance to director Peter Jackson's 2005 remake of "King Kong" shortly before her death from natural causes in late 2004. Though she appeared in all manner of...

Gripped in the giant hand of "King Kong" (1933) in a simulated New York City on the RKO backlot, Fay Wray emitted screams of terror that reverberated throughout a nation stunned by the Great Depression. By the time the Canadian native was cast in the role of Ann Darrow, human inamorata of the eighth Wonder of the World, Wray was already a successful Hollywood actress whose previous leading men included William Powell, Gary Cooper and Fredric March. Her reputation with the major studios undermined by her marriage to brilliant but unstable writer John Monk Saunders, Wray divorced, remarried and retired on her own terms in 1942. The death of her second husband, screenwriter Robert Riskin, drove the aging actress back to work in character parts, including a comical turn as an affluent hypochondriac in "Tammy and the Bachelor" (1957). An iconic figure in cult film circles, Wray eventually turned her back on performing to enjoy frequent public appearances as herself. Living well into her nineties, Wray turned down the offer to contribute a cameo appearance to director Peter Jackson's 2005 remake of "King Kong" shortly before her death from natural causes in late 2004. Though she appeared in all manner of movies, from dramas and comedies to horror films and the early Westerns in which she had performed her own stunts, Fay Wray was resigned to the fate of being remembered principally for just one role, as well as for the honor of being cinema's first bona fide scream queen.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Fay Wray: A Life (2008)
2.
 Broadway: The Golden Age (2004) Herself
3.
 Universal Horror (1998) Interviewee
4.
 Joe's Apartment (1996) Distinguished Dog
6.
 Gideon's Trumpet (1980) Edna Curtis
7.
 Dragstrip Riot (1958) Mrs. [Norma] Martin
8.
 Summer Love (1958) Beth Daley
9.
 Crime of Passion (1957) Alice Pope
10.
 Rock, Pretty Baby (1957) Beth Daley
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in the USA in California, Arizona and Utah; family eventually settled in Southern California
1923:
Film acting debut in "Gasoline Love"
1928:
Star-making role, "The Wedding March"
1932:
Breakthrough sound role, "The Most Dangerous Game"
1933:
Most famous role, "King Kong"
1937:
Starred opposite Richard Dix in "It Happened in Hollywood"
1942:
Retired from motion pictures
1944:
Co-wrote film "This is the Life"
1953:
Returned to the screen as character actress, "Small Town Girl"
1953:
TV series debut, "The Pride of the Family"
1958:
Retired from the screen
1980:
Returned to acting to play Henry Fonda's landlady, "Gideon's Trumpet" (CBS)
1988:
Reflected on RKO in "Hollywood: The Golden Years"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Hollywood High School: Hollywood , California -

Notes

Some sources list her date of birth as September 10.

"At the premiere of 'King Kong' I wasn't too impressed. I thought there was too much screaming. I didn't realize then that King Kong and I were going to be together for the rest of our lives, and longer ..." --Fay Wray

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
John Monk Saunders. Playwright, screenwriter. Married in 1928; divorced in 1938; committed suicide in 1940.
husband:
Robert Riskin. Screenwriter. Married from 1942 until his death in 1955.
husband:
Stanford Rothenberg. Doctor.

Family close complete family listing

father:
John H Wray. Rancher.
brother:
John Wray.
daughter:
Susan Riskin. Actor. Father, John Monk Saunders.
son:
Robert Riskin. Father, Robert Riskin.
daughter:
Victoria Riskin. Father, Robert Riskin.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"On the Other Hand: A Life Story" St. Martin's Press

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