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Frank Fay Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (4) | Trivia (14)

Overview (5)

Born in San Francisco, California, USA
Died in Santa Monica, California, USA
Birth NameFrancis Anthony Donner
Nickname Faysie
Height 6' 1" (1.85 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Frank Fay was born on November 17, 1891 in San Francisco, California, USA as Francis Anthony Donner. He was an actor, known for Nothing Sacred (1937), The Show of Shows (1929) and Stout Hearts and Willing Hands (1931). He was married to Barbara Stanwyck, Gladys Buchanan, Betty Kean and Frances White. He died on September 25, 1961 in Santa Monica, California.

Spouse (4)

Barbara Stanwyck (26 August 1928 - 30 December 1935) (divorced)
Frances White (? - ?)
Betty Kean (? - ?) (1 child)
Gladys Buchanan (? - 14 July 1925) (divorced)

Trivia (14)

Buried at Calvary Cemetery, Los Angeles, CA - Section F, Lot 1583, Grave 12
A popular vaudeville star, on stage from age 4.
Severe alcoholism ruined his marriage to actress Barbara Stanwyck and nearly obliterated his career.
He revived himself in the 40s when he starred in the play "Harvey" as Elwood P. Dowd, whose friend is an invisible rabbit. James Stewart played the role in the film version.
Known for his clever wit and uncontrollable ego, he once, when asked during a court appearance what his profession was, exclaimed "I'm the greatest comedian in the world." He later told his exasperated attorney, "I was under oath, wasn't I?"
He was the first really successful stand up comedian and MC to work in nightclubs and in Vaudville. He did his act in top hat and tails(Sans clown makeup, costumes and pratfalls). He used wit and interaction with the other performers and the audiences to make his act unique. He was also responsible for discovering Comic/character actresses Patsy Kelly and Barbara Stanwyck (formerly Ruby Stevens) and giving them their first acting gigs in Vaudville and in the theater. Mr. Fay and Ms. Stanwyck appeared in the star studded film comedy "The Slippery Pearls" in April, 1931. (The film was produced as a fund raiser by The Hollywood Masquers Club and by Paramount Pictures to raise monies to build The Will Rogers Memorial Hospital in Lake Saranc, New York).
Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald L. Smith, pg. 155-156. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387
His son Dion Anthony "Tony" Fay was born in February, 1932. He was adopted on December 5, 1932.
A week before his death in 1961, he was confined to a hospital in St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California and deemed legally incompetent.
He was awarded 2 Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Motion Pictures at 6282 Hollywood Boulevard and for Radio at 1752 Vine Street in Hollywood, California.
Ex-brother-in-law of Jane Kean.
First husband of Betty Kean.
In Hollywood, everywhere he went, Frank Fay did not make a lot of friends. A standard joke of the time went "who's got the biggest prick in Hollywood?" Answer: "Barbara Stanwyck." The womanizing, alcoholic Fay's career floundered, while Stanwyck's flourished for decades. In 1935 the two were divorced, and Fay continued his downward spiral, until 1944, when he was chosen to play Elwood P. Dowd in the original New York City Broadway production of "Harvey".
Through his friend Oscar Levant, Frank Fay met and married Barbara Stanwyck, then a young chorus girl who'd just gotten her first Broadway show (Burlesque, 1927) In 1929 they did a dramatic sketch, as "Fay and Stanwyck" at the Palace. Later that year, they were called to Hollywood, so Frank could star in the film "Show of Shows." Fay and Stanwyck's marriage and their experience in Hollywood later became the basis of a Hollywood movie - "A Star is Born".

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