Mention the name ‘Fay Wray’ and odds are good it’ll instantly be paired with another one– King Kong. The actress who became the legendary beauty that slayed the beast was a popular actress both in the silent era and especially in the early talkies, as her comedic chops as well as her high pitched scream made her ideal for comedies and horror movies, and everything in between.

Born in Canada in 1907, Wray began acting in the early 1920s and worked for Hal Roach and Universal. She earned a contract with Paramount and made her first appearance in a lead role in Erich Von Stroheim’s The Wedding March (1927). Wray had a fine voice and made the transition easily, and, after her contract with Paramount ended, she made the rounds to many different studios as a utility player– usually a pleasant leading lady to the male star, or the one called upon to do the most screaming in a picture.

After starring in a pair of two-strip technicolor horror films for Warners, Doctor X and Mystery at the Wax Museum, her new found success as a minor horror icon got her noticed at RKO where she starred opposite Joel McCrea in The Most Dangerous Game and then in producer Merian C. Cooper’s epic gamble, King Kong. Set on the same jungle sets as The Most Dangerous Game and then climaxing on the still newly built Empire State Building, King Kong was one of the best movies to emerge out of the early 30s and one of the most memorable.

Never really losing its luster, Wray became forever associated with her large costar. While her career continued on and off for the next five decades, with Wray becoming a Hollywood staple and icon. She turned down a cameo in Peter Jackson’s remake of King Kong and passed away in 2004. Shortly after her death, the Empire State Building turned off its lights for 15 minutes in memory of her.

Fay Wray’s Pre-Code Filmography


Videos of Fay Wray

Here Fay Wray talks about her relationship to Kong:

Teaser for an upcoming documentary on Wray’s life:

Autobiography of Fay Wray


On the Other Hand

by Fay Wray

Click here to view this on Amazon.

Fay Wray Sites and Links

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