Fay Wray was a Canadian–American actor, best known for her performance in the iconic monster adventure film ‘King Kong.’ Fay was born Vina Fay Wray, on September 15, 1907, near the Alberta province in Canada, to Elvina Marguerite Jones and Joseph Heber Wray. Fay had five siblings.
Even though her parents were Mormons, she was not a staunch follower of the religion. Fay moved to Salt Lake City, US, in 1912. She then moved to Lark, Utah, in 1914. Her family moved back to Salt Lake City in 1919, eventually relocating to Hollywood, where Fay graduated from the ‘Hollywood High School.’
Fay was just 16 when she appeared in a local short named ‘Gasoline Love.’ She made her official debut as ‘Beth Slocum’ in the 1925 silent action-drama ‘The Coast Patrol.’ That year, Fay had several short appearances and uncredited roles with the ‘Hal Roach Studios.’
Fay finally returned to prominence in 1926, with the silent Western film ‘The Wild Horse Stampede.’ Additionally, she appeared in a few shorts and silent Westerns. Fay was selected by the ‘Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers’ for their promotional campaign, ‘WAMPAS Baby Stars.’ She then signed a contract with ‘Universal Studios.’
In her nearly 6-decade-long career, she had worked in several films and had also seen the transition from the silent era to the talkies. Regarded as one of the first “scream queens,” Fay worked under ‘Universal’ and ‘Paramount’ studios in the first decade of her career and later worked for several other film companies, thus appearing as a regular in horror–thrillers.
However, her most notable association with any production studio was with ‘RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.,’ which gave Fay the most prominent film of her career, ‘King Kong’ (1933). Fay quit appearing in films after her second marriage, but later, her financial crisis led her to resume working.
Her comeback also marked her entry into the world of TV, where she continued making appearances till she finally retired in 1980. Fay had chronicled her life story in her autobiography. Fay was offered to play old ‘Rose Dawson Calvert’ in the 1997 blockbuster ‘Titanic,’ but she turned down the offer.
In her personal life, she was married thrice and had children from her first two husbands. Fay was first married to writer John Monk Saunders, with whom she had a daughter, Susan Cary Saunders. She then married ‘Academy Award’-winning screenwriter and playwright Robert Riskin and had two children, Victoria Riskin, and Robert Riskin, Jr.