I say a little prayer when passing the Empire State Building. A good friend of mine died up there
Fay Wray was the first actress appeared opposite one of the biggest, hairiest characters in movie history – the giant rampaging gorilla, King Kong
Fay was the human star of the original 1933 Hollywood movie, playing Ann Darrow, the object of the great ape’s affection, saved by him before his dramatic final tumble off the Empire State Building.
During much of the filming Wray was held in the grip of an eight-foot artificial hand and later recounted how when the filming ended, she spent time screaming at the top of her voice in a sound booth, to add drama to the final edited version.
Born in Alberta, Canada, Fay appeared in over seventy films, starting out in the silent era whiles she was still in her teens. She married three times and had high-profile romances with other stars including Cary Grant and aviation tycoon, Howard Hughes. During the 1930s, she became known as Hollywood’s ‘Scream Queen’ thanks to her roles in nail-biting chillers.
Later on in her acting career, Fay made regular TV drama appearances. Later on still, she was feted as a queen from Hollywood’s Golden Age; turning down the role of the older Rose in Titanic and director Peter Jackson’s bid for her to play a cameo in his 2005 remake of King Kong Fay later whispered to Jackson– a huge fan of hers – “never say never”, but she died, before this could come to pass.
She only ever watched King Kong (her “little man”, as she fondly referred to the ape) four times during her long life. Although she always maintained an earlier film role, in The Wedding March, had been most enriching for her, her part in King Kong had been extraordinary.