Cardston, Alberta Canada
Place of Death
New York City, New York
Cause of Death
Claim to Fame
King Kong, WAMPAS Baby Star of 1926
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Wray was born on a ranch near Cardston, Alberta, Canada to Elvina Marguerite Jones, who was from Salt Lake City, Utah, and Joseph Heber Wray, who was from Kingston upon Hull, England. Wray gained media attention when she was selected as one of the WAMPAS Baby Stars in 1926 (with Joan Crawford, Dolores del Rio and Mary Astor), which resulted in a contract at Paramount Pictures.
In 1928, director Erich von Stroheim cast Wray as the main female lead in his troubled production of The Wedding March, which sent Hollywood in a buzz for its high budget and production values. It was a financial failure, but it gave Wray her first lead role.
She is best remembered for her role as Ann Darrow, the blonde seductress of the gigantic gorilla in the classic horror/adventure film King Kong (1933). She wore a blonde wig over her naturally dark hair for the role.
She continued in films but by the early 1940s her appearances grew sporadic. She appeared frequently on television making her final appearance in 1980. Her autobiography, On the Other Hand, was published in 1988.
In the later years of her life, Wray continued to make public appearances, and was a guest at the 70th Academy Awards, where the show`s host, Billy Crystal introduced her and paid tribute to her film legacy.
Wray was approached to appear in a small cameo for the 2005 remake of King Kong, and also met with Naomi Watts who was to play the Ann Darrow role. Before filming commenced, however, Wray died in her sleep on August 8, 2004, in her Manhattan apartment of natural causes (writers of the remake did honor her, however, with a comical mention in that film). She was 96 years old, only 38 days short of her 97th birthday. Wray was interred at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, California. After her death was announced the lights on the Empire State Building were extinguished for 15 minutes in her memory.
For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Fay Wray has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6349 Hollywood Blvd. She received a posthumous star on Canada`s Walk of Fame in Toronto on June 5, 2005. A small park near Lee`s Creek on Main Street in Cardston, Alberta, is named "Fay Wray Park" in her honor. The small sign at the edge of the park on Main Street has a silhouette of King Kong on it. In May 2006, Wray became one of the first four entertainers to ever be honored by Canada Post by being featured on a postage stamp.
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Full Name at Birth
Vina Fay Wray
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Vina Fay Wray (September 15, 1907 – August 8, 2004) was a Canadian-born American actress most noted for playing the female lead in King Kong. Through an acting career that spanned 57 years, Wray attained international renown as an actress in horror movie roles. She was one of the first "scream queens".
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Fay Wray died on 8th August, 2004. Her last relationship was with Sanford Rothenberg, they were married for 19 years.
During her life she was married to Robert Riskin from 1942 to 1955 and John Saunders from 1928 to 1939.
She also dated Leland Hayward in 1932, John Whitney, Clifford Odets, Sinclair Lewis, George Gershwin and Cary Grant.
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