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Fay Wray
Fay Wray.jpg
Biographical information


September 15, 1907

Cardston, Alberta, Canada


August 8, 2004 (aged 96)

New York City, New York, USA







King Kong Role


Ann Darrow

"I wasn't too impressed. I thought there was too much screaming . . . I didn't realize then that King Kong and I were going to be together for the rest of our lives, and longer . . ."
—Fay Wray[1]

Vina Fay Wray was a Canadian-born American actress most noted for playing Ann Darrow in King Kong. She had an acting career than spanned for over 57 years.



Wray was born on a ranch near Cardston, Alberta, Canada, on September 15, 1907. She is the daughter of two members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Elvina Marguerite Jones, from Salt Lake City, Utah, and Joseph Heber Wray, from Kingston upon Hull, England. Wray was one of six children within her family.

Early Life and Childhood[]

In 1912, shortly after Wray's birth, she and her family returned to Salt Lake City in order for her father to find better work than what was offered in Alberta. She and her family moved to Lark, Utah in 1914. In 1919, the Wrays returned to Salt Lake City again and then relocated to Hollywood, California.

After moving to California, her parents divorced, which put the rest of the family in hard times. Being in an entertainment environment, Wray took the opportunity to find her way in the entertainment industry while she attended Hollywood High School.

Early Acting Career[]

By the age of 16, Fay played her first role in a motion picture sponsored by a local newspaper, Gasoline Love (1923). After this first silent film role, Wray did not have another chance at acting for two years until 1925, where she landed a more prominent role in the lackluster film, The Coast Patrol.

After gaining uncredited bit parts at the Hal Roach Studios and four more films followed in 1926, Wray's career finally left the ground. The Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers, selected Wray as one of the "WAMPAS Baby Stars", a group of women starlets most likely to succeed in film.

Working with Paramount Studios and The Wedding March[]

Wray with Erich von Stroheim in, The Wedding March.

After three films starring Wray in 1927, Wray was signed to a contract with Paramount Pictures to begin acting for the studio. In 1928, director Erich von Stroheim cast her as the main female lead in his film The Wedding March, released by Paramount. While the film was noted for its high budget and production values, it was a financial failure, but gave Wray her first lead role.

Following the success of The Wedding March, Wray stayed with Paramount and filmed more than a dozen films by the studio. Some of these films included: Thunderbolt, The Texan, The Four Feathers, The Sea God, and The Lawyer's Secret.

Wray stayed with Paramount to the "talkie" era of motion pictures.

Horror Films[]

Wray in, Doctor X.

After leaving Paramount, Wray signed to various film companies, one of them being First National Pictures and RKO Radio Pictures. It was under these deals that Wray was cast in various horror films. These horror films includes, Doctor X, Mystery of the Wax Museum, and The Vampire Bat.

After the success of starring in horror films, Wray started to gather attention to filmmakers as the actress to play in film featuring suspense and action. After the release of the horror films during the 1930s, audiences started to identify Wray as a horror and thriller actress due to her acting talent and high-pitched screams.

RKO Radio Pictures and The Most Dangerous Game[]

Wray with Joel McCrea in, The Most Dangerous Game.

During the 1930s, Wray's greater known films were produced under her deal with RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.. Her first film under RKO was The Most Dangerous Game (1932), co-starring Joel McCrea, Leslie Banks, and Robert Armstrong.

The Most Dangerous Game was a critical success that Wray became one of the staple actresses for RKO after it's release.

King Kong[]

Notes and References[]