Fay Wray

Fay Wray (1907-2004) She was called The scream queen because of her parts in King Kong and similiar movies.


Canadian born Fay Wray was brought up in Los Angeles and entered films at an early age. Fay was barely in her teens when she started working as an extra. Her early career has been described as working in “Oaters” as she was often cast as the silent heroine in Westerns at Universal. In 1926, the Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers selected 13 young starlets whom they deemed most likely to succeed in pictures. Fay was chosen as one of these starlets along with Janet Gaynor and Mary Astor. Fame would indeed come to Fay when she played another heroine in Stroheim’s The Wedding March (1928). She would continue playing leads in a number of films such as the good-bad girl in Thunderbolt (1929). By the early 30’s, she was at Paramount working with Gary Cooper and Jack Holt in a number of average films like Master of Men (1933). She also appeared in horror films such as Doctor X (1932) and The Vampire Bat (1933) and it is not known whether the Horror is script driven or work driven. Next Fay was told that she would work with a tall dark leading man, only to find that it was a gorilla. Perhaps no one in the history of pictures could scream more dramatically than Fay, and she really put on a show with King Kong (1933). Fay’s character provided a combination of sex appeal, vulnerability and lung capacity as she was stalked by the giant beast all the way to the top of the Empire State Building. But that was as far as Fay would rise as this was, after all, just another horror-type movie. After the King, she began a slow decline that put her into low-budget action films by the mid 30’s. In 1939, her marriage to Saunders would end in divorce and her career would be almost finished. In 1942, Fay remarried and retired from the screen, forever to be remembered as the girl in ‘King Kong’. However, in 1953 she made a comeback, playing mature character roles and also appeared on television as Catherine, Natalie Wood’s mother in “The Pride of the Family” (1953).

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