Wednesday, January 6, 2010

WOMAN OF THE WEEK: Fay Wray

Whatever happened to Fay Wray? That delicate, satin draped frame. As it clung to her thigh, how I started to cry; because I wanted to be dressed just the same. Hello Womanizers, after a hell of a lot of B.S. written WotW's, I figured I should take it back old school and focus on the quintessential female icons of Horror. Fay Wray is arguably the genre's first Scream Queen and I am sort of disgusted with myself that I hadn't featured her sooner.

In 1919, Wray appeared in her first film at the age of 16, landing a role in a short historical film sponsored by a local newspaper. In the 1920s, Wray landed a major role in the silent films such as The Coast Patrol, as well as various roles as smaller parts in silent films.

In 1926, American film association: Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers chose her as one of the "WAMPAS Baby Stars". These were a group of women who the WAMPAS believed to be on the threshold of movie stardom. Sort of the "actresses to be looking for". Other notable Baby Stars are Gloria Stuart, Joan Crawford, and Ginger Rogers. She then started to nab major roles in various films for Universal Pictures.

Later on in her career, Wray signed to various film companies. It was under these deals that Wray was cast in various horror films, including Doctor X (will build his creatureeee) However, her greatest known films were produced under her deal with RKO Radio Pictures where she made some of her most memorable and iconic films.

The Most Dangerous Game was followed by Wray's most memorable film, King Kong. According to Wray, Jean Harlow had been RKO's original choice, but due to contract conflictions, the blonde captive of King Kong was given to Fay Wray.

Wray was paid $10,000 dollars to play the role. The iconic famous blonde was actually a fake! She wore a blonde wig over her naturally dark hair. The film was a commercial success and has become one of the most influenial pictures. King Kong was actually the film that saved RKO from bankruptcy. Wray's role would become the one with which she would be most associated.

After Kong, she starred in The Vampire Bat and then in another important horror movie milestone, Mystery of the Wax Museum, as she established herself as the perfect example of the helpless heroine. Consequently, the year 1933 was to be Fay's busiest, as she played roles in eleven different movies. 1934 was just as busy, with a couple of fantasy projects, most notably The Clairvoyant and Black Moon. On August 8, 2004, Fay Wray died in her Manhattan apartment, from natural causes, almost a month away from celebrating of 97th birthday. A posthumous star on Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto was unveiled to her memory on June 5, 2005.


5 comment(s):

sleestakk said...

Nice post! I've always dug Wray and was fortunate to see more of her films in the past year. Most Dangerous Game is just awesome... and she certainly lights up the screen whenever she's on it.

Pax Romano said...

Did you know that Peter Jackson wanted Fay to do a cameo in his remake? Sadly, she passed away before she could.

Great write up, not enough of "the kids" today know about the original scream queens!

Blooming Psycho said...

I remember seeing King Kong when I was six years old. I wanted to BE Fay Wray!

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The Curious Cat said...

Happy New Year! Hadn't had a chance to drop in before but just popped along to say hello! I'm always talking about your blog and the interesting stuff I read on it continually! You rock and I intend to keep reading for 2010 too! :) xxx

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