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Fay Wray
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She was born Vina Fay Wray near Cardston, Alberta, Canada, on September 15, 1907. Fay was from a large family that included five siblings. She moved to Arizona when she was still small in order for her father to find better work than what was offered in Alberta. After moving again to California, her parents divorced, which put the rest of the family in hard times. Being in entertainment-rich Los Angeles, there was ample opportunity to take advantage of the chances that might come her way in the entertainment industry. At the age of 16, Fay played her first role in a motion picture, albeit a small one. The film was Gasoline Love (1923) in 1923. The film was not a hit, nor was it a launching vehicle for her career. It would be two more years before she ever got another chance. When it did come, it was another lackluster film called The Coast Patrol (1925). The only thing it did for Fay was give her a slightly more prominent role than the film two years earlier. Four more films followed in 1926, and her career finally left the ground. She was noticed to the extent that the Western Association of Motion Pictures chose her as one of thirteen starlets most likely to succeed in film. After three films in 1927, the following year established Fay as an actress to be reckoned with. She played the lead, Mitzi Schrammell, in the hit The Wedding March (1928). She 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. In 1933, Fay appeared in eleven films, including The Big Brain (1933), The Vampire Bat (1933), and Ann Carver's Profession (1933). But it was another film that placed her in a role that is remembered to this day. That year she played Ann Darrow in the classic _King Kong_. After that, Fay came by more and better roles, but she is best remembered for that one performance. The movie wound up being named one of the 100 greatest films of all time by the American Film Institute in 1998. She continued her pace in films, making eleven films again in 1934, including Once to Every Woman (1934), Viva Villa! (1934), and Alias Bulldog Drummond (1935). But her career was now beginning the proverbial backward slide. Movie roles were becoming fewer and fewer with new stars on the horizon. Now it was Fay's services which were being curtailed. Her 11-year marriage to John Monk Saunders ended in a painful divorce. After Not a Ladies' Man (1942), Fay was not in another film until Treasure of the Golden Condor (1953). The films she appeared in during the latter '50s were not much to write home about, and several were some of the weakest ever projected. Her last performance before the cameras was a made-for-television movie called Gideon's Trumpet (1980). Fay Wray died of an natural causes on August 8, 2004. She was an excellent actress who never was given a chance to live up to her potential, especially after being cast in a number of horror films in the '30s. Given the right role, Fay could have had her star up alongside the great actresses of the day. No matter. She remains a bright star from cinema's golden era.

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