Vina Fay Wray (September 15, 1907 – August 8, 2004) was a Canadian-born American actress best remembered for starring as Ann Darrow in the 1933 film King Kong. Through an acting career that spanned nearly six decades, Wray attained international recognition as an actress in horror films. She has been dubbed one of the early "scream queens". After appearing in minor film roles, Wray gained media attention after being selected as one of the "WAMPAS Baby Stars" in 1926. This led to her being contracted to Paramount Pictures as a teenager, where she made more than a dozen feature films. After leaving Paramount, she signed deals with various film companies, being cast in her first horror film roles, in addition to many other types of roles, including in The Bowery (1933) and Viva Villa (1934), both of which starred Wallace Beery. For RKO Radio Pictures, Inc., she starred in the film with which she is most identified, King Kong (1933). After the success of King Kong, Wray made numerous appearances in both film and television; she retired in 1980.
In 1923, Wray appeared in her first film at the age of 16, when she landed a role in a short historical film sponsored by a local newspaper. In the 1920s, Wray landed a major role in the silent film The Coast Patrol (1925), as well as uncredited bit parts at the Hal Roach Studios. In 1926, the Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers selected Wray as one of the "WAMPAS Baby Stars", a group of women whom they believed to be on the threshold of movie stardom. She was at the time under contract to Universal Studios, mostly co-starring in low-budget Westerns opposite Buck Jones. The following year, Wray was signed to a contract with Paramount Pictures. In 1926, director Erich von Stroheim cast her as the main female lead in his film The Wedding March, released by Paramount two years later. While the film was noted for its high budget and production values, it was a financial failure. It also gave Wray her first lead role. Wray stayed with Paramount to make more than a dozen films and made the transition from silent films to "talkies".
Wray married three times – to writers John Monk Saunders and Robert Riskin and the neurosurgeon Sanford Rothenberg (January 28, 1919 – January 4, 1991). She had three children: Susan Saunders, Victoria Riskin, and Robert Riskin Jr. She became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1933.
Wray was born on a ranch near Cardston in the province of Alberta, Canada to parents who were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Elvina Marguerite Jones, who was from Salt Lake City, Utah, and Joseph Heber Wray, who was from Kingston upon Hull, England. She was one of six children and was a granddaughter of LDS pioneer Daniel Webster Jones. Her ancestors came from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Wray was never baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Her family returned to the United States a few years after she was born; they moved to Salt Lake City in 1912 and moved to Lark, Utah, in 1914. In 1919, the Wray family returned to Salt Lake City, and then relocated to Hollywood, where Fay attended Hollywood High School.
Movies & TV shows
Return to Jurassic Park
The film goes through the making of the film, the storm during shooting, and how it helped change the world of special effects. All interviews for these retrospective documentaries have comments from ...
RKO Production 601: The Making of 'Kong, the Eighth Wonder of the World'
An in-depth look at the genesis, production, and legacy of the 1933 production “King Kong,” one of the most influential films ever made.
Broadway: The Golden Age, by the Legends Who Were There
Broadway: The Golden Age is the most important, ambitious and comprehensive film ever made about America's most celebrated indigenous art form. Award-winning filmmaker Rick McKay filmed over 100 of t...
1 Movie · 1 TV show
True story of Clarence Gideon's fight to be appointed counsel at the expense of the state. This landmark case led to the Supreme Court's decision which extended this right to all criminal defendants.
Murder by Death
The world's five greatest detectives are invited to a 'dinner and murder' by Lionel Twain. There are more plot turns and twists than are allowed, as well as a blind butler and a deafness-mute maid.
Kinkón (1971), a silent adaptation of Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack’s 1933 classic, King Kong. Zulueta re-filmed a television broadcast of the original, and through creative subtraction an...
1 TV show
The Eleventh Hour
The Eleventh Hour is an American medical drama about psychiatry starring Wendell Corey, Jack Ging, and Ralph Bellamy, which aired sixty-two new episodes plus selected rebroadcasts on NBC from October ...
1 TV show
The Islanders is an American adventure television series which aired on ABC from 1960 to 1961, starring William Reynolds, James Philbrook, and Diane Brewster. At the beginning of the series, Sandy Wa...
1 TV show
Private Eyes Tom Lopaka and Tracy Steele are based out of Hawaiian Village Resort where they work both hotel security and are hired by others to look into various matters. They're helped by their trus...
2 Movies · 1 TV show
77 Sunset Strip
77 Sunset Strip is an hour-length American television private detective series created by Roy Huggins and starring Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Roger Smith, and Edd Byrnes. The show was the subject of an ow...
A neighborhood rock band gets a job playing at a summer camp.
An adolescent arrives in a new town where he tries to join the drag-racing crowd.
1 Movie · 1 TV show
The cases of master criminal defense attorney Perry Mason and his staff who handled the most difficult of cases in the aid of the innocent.
Tammy and the Bachelor
An unsophisticated young woman from the Mississippi swamps falls in love with an unconventional southern gentleman.
3 Movies · 1 TV show
Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Alfred Hitchhiker hosted the television anthology series. dramas, thrillers, and mysteries are included in the series.
The clinic's new drapes are not the only problem, as patients and staff clash over who chooses which drapes to use.
Hell on Frisco Bay
A cop framed for a murder he did not commit hunts the San Francisco waterfront for the Mob racketeers who are responsible.
A devilish Southern woman, married to a man who despises her, manages to manipulate those around her under the guise of being kind. But, when her sister-in-law is engaged to be married to the woman's ...
2 Movies · 1 TV show
General Electric Theater
General Electric Theater is an American anthology series hosted by Ronald Reagan that was broadcast on CBS radio and television. The series was sponsored by General Electric's Department of Public Rel...
Small Town Girl
Rick Belrow Livingston, in love with Broadway star Lisa, is sentenced to 30 days in jail for speeding through a small town. He persuades the judge's daughter Cindy to let him leave for one night, so t...
Treasure of the Golden Condor
A man is searching for a treasure in a country.
2 TV shows
Cavalcade of America
Cavalcade of America is an anthology drama series that was sponsored by the DuPont Company, although it occasionally presented a musical, such as an adaptation of Show Boat, and condensed biographies ...
This Is Your Life
This Is Your Life is an American television documentary series broadcast on NBC, originally hosted by its producer, Ralph Edwards from 1952 to 1961. In the show, the host surprises a guest, and procee...
1 TV show
Hallmark Hall of Fame
Hallmark Hall of Fame is an anthology program on American television, sponsored by Hallmark Cards, a Kansas City based greeting card company. The longest-running primetime series in the history of tel...
This Is the Life
18-year-old Angela, reared in a New England town by her Aunt Betsy, receives an inheritance which she uses to go to New York, ostensibly for voice training, but she is pursuing Major Hilary Jarret, an...
Melody for Three
Dr. Christian takes an interest in a young boy, a violin prodigy, whose mother is a divorced music teacher. His interest isn't just in the boy's music career--he believes it would be best for the boy ...
Adam Had Four Sons
Emilie has been hired to care for the four sons of wealthy Adam Stoddard and his wife, Molly. After Molly dies, Adam and the boys grow to depend on Emilie even more. At the same time, Emilie falls in ...
After a stamp-collecting Navy chief petty officer is jailed following FBI and Naval Justice investigation, his fiancee meets one of his fellow officers, becomes romantically interested in him, and joi...
Murder in Greenwich Village
A society girl is suspected of murdering an artist whose brother is a notorious racketeer. In her pursuit of an alibi, she inadvertently implicates a struggling advertisement photographer. Now they mu...
It Happened in Hollywood
A silent Western star has trouble adjusting to the coming of sound.
Joyce Reid (Fay Wray), a wealthy young debutante, stows away on a cargo ship to China, carrying as passengers her dashing aviator sweetheart, Dan Bailey (Ralph Bellamy) and and her munitions-producing...
When Knights Were Bold
Happy-go-lucky soldier Guy De Vere must leave India and return to the family seat at Little Twittering, for he has inherited the family title. Sir Guy finds all his relatives to be frozen stuffed shir...
They Met in a Taxi
A cab driver takes in a young woman who claims to be a reluctant bride, and becomes involved in the search for a stolen necklace.
Come Out of the Pantry
A Duke's son plays the part of a footman and shows himself amusing in the pantry.
Crime drama starring Fay Wray
A fake psychic suddenly turns into the real thing when he meets a young beauty. (TCM)
While filling in for injured supersleuth Bulldog Drummond (Atholl Fleming), world-class cricket player Jack Pennington (Jack Hulbert) attempts to foil a criminal mastermind's (Ralph Richardson) impend...
The Richest Girl in the World
Millionairess Dorothy Hunter is tired of finding out that her boyfriends love her for her money, and equally weary of losing eligible beaus who don't want to be considered fortune-hunters. That's why...
Once to Every Woman
An able nurse clashes with a new doctor at her hospital.
Maria is married to Captain Franck of German Intelligence. He does not know she is a Russian assigned to spy on him. When he is told to uncover a leak, he vows revenge on his wife.
A woman returning to her island birthplace finds herself drawn to a voodoo cult.
In this fictionalized biography, young Pancho Villa takes to the hills after killing an overseer in revenge for his father's death.
Woman in the Dark
Lightweight but entertaining crime/drama about a man (Ralph Bellamy) released from prison and deciding to stay alone in his cabin so that his bad temper won't get him back into prison.
The Palmers, an apparently wealthy family, move into the house next door to the Lazarres. However, the Palmers are actually a gang of thieves plotting to rob the Lazarres.
The Affairs of Cellini
Despite the duke, the 16th-century sculptor woos the Duchess of Florence.
Mills of the Gods
Fay Wray plays Jean Hastings, the wealthy and spoiled scion of a factory-owning family led by her irrepressible grandmother. Sparks fly when Jean meets Jim Devlin, the labor leader who’s spearheading ...
A film crew discovers the "eighth wonder of the world," a giant prehistoric ape, and brings him back to New York, where he wreaks havoc.
Below the Sea
A wealthy woman funds an underwater expedition to explore for marine life, but what she doesn't know is that her "colleagues" have other intentions.
Son of Kong
Beleaguered adventurer Carl Denham returns to the island where he found King Kong.
"In the Gay Nineties New York had grown up into bustles and balloon Sleeves ... but The Bowery had grown younger, louder and more rowdy until it was known as the 'Livest Mile on the face of the globe'...
Master of Men
One of ten films that Fay Wray made in 1993 (including King Kong), Master of Men casts her as Kay Walling, a woman who is being ignored by her husband, Buck (played by Jack Holt). Buck owns a prospero...
The Big Brain
The Big Brain is a 1933 American drama film directed by George Archainbaud and written by Sy Bartlett and Warren Duff.
Ann Carver's Profession
Newlyweds experience marital problems when the wife's highly successful job as an attorney overshadows her husband's stagnant career.
One Sunday Afternoon
Middle-aged dentist Biff Grimes reminisces about his love for Virginia Brush and her husband Hugo, his ex-friend, who betrayed him.
The Woman I Stole
A man (Jack Holt) wins his best friend's wife (Fay Wray) and seems to be plotting to ruin the man's oil business.
In the 1920s Pat Jackson destroys a Chinese post and is discharged from the Navy. Li Po Chang hires him to run a gunboat up the river. He drops Wildeth off at a mission for safety, but when his boat r...
The Vampire Bat
When the villagers of Klineschloss start dying of blood loss, the town fathers suspect a resurgence of vampirism. While police inspector Karl remains skeptical, scientist Dr. von Niemann cares for the...
Mystery of the Wax Museum
The disappearance of people and corpses leads a reporter to a wax museum and a sinister sculptor.
On her first night as a dockside dancer, Mary Foster loses her job when she tries to fend of the advances of first mate Groder. On the street and being pursued by a Policeman who thinks she is a pros...
The Most Dangerous Game
When legendary hunter Bob Rainsford is wrecked on the perilous reefs surrounding a mysterious island, he finds himself the guest of the eccentric and secretive Count Zaroff. Zaroff eventually forces R...
A wisecracking New York reporter intrudes on a research scientist's quest to unmask The Moon Killer.
The Unholy Garden
At a hotel in the middle of the Sahara, an old man and his daughter try to keep the location of a hidden treasure from a collection of thieves and criminals staying at the hotel who are determined to ...
The Conquering Horde
Not long after the Civil War, Texas cattle ranchers realize they have a problem--the Union Pacific railroad is bypassing their state and make it near impossible to get their cattle to market. Many ran...
The Lawyer's Secret
Sailor Joe Hart, who is spending his shore leave at a gambling joint, sells his gun to young Laurie Roberts after losing terribly. After Hart again loses his last dime, he leaves the joint and steals ...
In 1877, thieves Ace Beaudry, Bronco Dawson and Bull Stanley head West together after having each been betrayed by a woman. They come across a wagon train bound for the town of Custer, where hundreds ...
The Stolen Jools
Famous actress Norma Shearer's jewels are stolen… (Star-packed promotional short film intended to raise funds for the National Variety Artists Tuberculosis Sanatorium.)
The love of beautiful Helen, Frisky's wife, and the glory associated with a successful expedition to the South Pole were the subject of a fight between the commander and the Navy pilot. Frisky tried a...
The Finger Points
When Lee gets a job with The Press, he is a fresh young kid from the South. He got his name in the paper for his first assignment, the police were on a raid, and Lee was in the hospital.
Paramount on Parade
This 1930 film, a collection of songs and sketches showcasing Paramount Studios' contract stars, credits 11 directors (including Dorothy Arzner, Ernst Lubitsch, Victor Schertzinger and Edmund Goulding...
A notorious Mexican bandit goes all soft and mushy when he falls for a beautiful senorita. Warner Bros.' Captain Thunder contains some of the darndest Mexican accents you've ever heard in your life. ...
The Texan is a 1930 American Western film directed by John Cromwell and starring Gary Cooper and Fay Wray. Based on the short story "The Double-Dyed Deceiver" by O. Henry, the film is about a daring b...
The Border Legion
Cowhand Jim Cleve is wrongly accused of murder and rescued by Jack Kells, leader of a band of Idaho outlaws known as the Border Legion. But when the Legion takes Joan Randall prisoner and leaves Cleve...
The Sea God
The Sea God is an early sound melodrama about two men vying for Fay Wray and wealth in the South Pacific.
Behind the Make-Up
Gardoni, a down-on-his-luck vaudeville performer, is taken in by a fellow performer, a clown who has a bicycle riding act. Gardoni shows his appreciation by stealing the clown's act and his girlfriend...
Fay Wray plays a beautiful showgirl who falls for a rich Park Avenue guy played by Phillips Holmes. William Powell is a producer in love with Miss Wray, but he won't use his influences to take any ad...
A criminal known as Thunderbolt is imprisoned and facing execution. Into the next cell is placed Bob Morgan, an innocent man who has been framed and who is in love with Thunderbolt's girl, without kno...
The Four Feathers
An Englishman (Richard Arlen) fights in the Sudan after receiving white feathers of cowardice from his fiancee (Fay Wray) and friends.
Street of Sin
The Legion of the Condemned
Finding his sweetheart, Christine, in the arms of a German officer, Price joins the French Air Legion. Christine is later revealed to be the spy whom Price has been ordered to drop behind enemy lines....
The Wedding March
A young impoverished aristocrat falls in love with an inn-keepers daughter, but has to marry money.
The First Kiss
The Talbots, formerly one of the Eastern Shore's first families, have gone to seed: Pap is a drunk, soddenly decaying in his ruined ancestral home, and three of his sons (William, Carol, and Ezra) are...
The Man in the Saddle
American silent western film directed by William Wyler
The Wild Horse Stampede
Cowboy Jack Carter, the proud owner of the Australian shepherd Bunk, accepts the challenge of corralling 10,000 wild horses within a 10-day period. With the enormous sum for his efforts, Jack prepares...
Isn't Life Terrible?
Charley is plagued with failure and with his brother-in-law, who's allergic to labor. When he decides to take the family on a camping trip, his wife learns about a contest sponsored by a pen company, ...
Moonlight and Noses
Moonlight and Noses (1925) is a comedy short directed by Stan Laurel & F. Richard Jones.
Chasing the Chaser
A very good as a faithful husband, whose wife is looking for proof that more than his eyes have been roving. She hires a private detective to provide it.
The Coast Patrol
Coast Patrol was a threadbare silent 5-reeler starring Kenneth MacDonald as an officer in the titular patrol. Nothing much happens really, except for a few misunderstandings, fistfights and boat chase...
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Fay_Wray", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.