A Year: Day to Day Men: 15th of September

The Color Green

September 15, 1907 was the birthdate of actress Fay Wray.

The year 1928 established Canadian-born Fay Wray as an actress to be reckoned with. She played the heroine, Mitzi Schrammell, in Erich von Stroheim’s 1928 “The Wedding March”.. Wray had made the successful transition into the “talkie” era when most performers’ services were no longer needed because of the sound of their voices on film. She continued playing leads in a number of films, such as the good-bad girl in the 1929 film “Thunderbolt”, a crime-prison movie with George Bancroft.

By the early 1930s Fay Wray was at Paramount Pictures working with Gary Cooper and Jack Holt in a number of average films, such as the 1933 “Master of Men”.  From 1932 through 1933 she appeared in eleven films such as the 1932 “Doctor X” and 1933 “The Vampire Bat”, playing opposite Lionel Atwell, and “The Big Brain”, a film about a gambler’s rise in to international crime .

In 1933 Fay Wray played Ann Darrow in Merion C Cooper’s classic “King Kong. She is best remembered for that one performance; her character provided a combination of sex appeal, vulnerability and lung capacity as she was stalked by the giant beast to the top of the Empire State Building.. The movie wound up being named one of the 100 greatest films of all time by the American Film Institute in 1998.

Fay Wray continued her pace in films, making eleven films again in 1934, including “Once to Every Woman” in 1934, the 1934 “Viva Villa!”, and “Alias Bulldog Drummond” released in 1935. However, her career was now beginning the proverbial backward slide. Movie roles were becoming fewer and fewer with new stars on the horizon. After the 1942 “Not a Ladies’ Man”, Fay was not in another film until the 1953 “Treasure of the Golden Condor”. Her last performance before the cameras was a made-for-television movie called “Gideon’s Trumpet”  in 1980.

Fay Wray died of an natural causes on August 8, 2004. Two days after her death, the lights on the Empire State Building in New York City were dimmed for 15 minutes in her memory. Fay Wray was an excellent actress who never was actually given a chance to live up to her potential, especially after being cast in a number of horror films in the 1930s. Given the right role, Fay could have had her star up alongside the great actresses of the day. Fay Wray though still remains a bright star from cinema’s golden era.

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