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4 items from 2004

'King Kong' Star Fay Wray Dies

10 August 2004 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Actress Fay Wray, best known for her role in 1933 movie King Kong, died on Sunday. She was 96. Born Vina Fay Wray in Alberta, Canada, on September 15, 1907, she was one of six children. Her family moved to the United States when she was three years old. Wray was barely in her teens when she began her silver-screen career as a extra. She went on to be regularly cast as a heroine in silent movies, scoring her breakthrough in 1928's The Wedding March. In the early 1930s she made a number of horror movies, including Doctor X and The Vampire Bat, and became known as Hollywood's first "scream queen". After those movies, Wray won praise for her King Kong character's combination of sex appeal, vulnerability and lung capacity as she was stalked by the beast to the top of New York's Empire State Building. But her career fell into decline following King Kong and she retired from movies in 1942 after her second marriage. In 1953, she made a comeback in character roles and made movies until 1958 and worked in television into the 1960s. Wray had a daughter, Susan, by her first marriage to John Monk Saunders, and two children, Robert and Vicky, with Robert Riskin. »

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Actress Fay Wray Dies at 96

9 August 2004 | IMDb News

Fay Wray, the stunning beauty who tamed the legendary beast in King Kong, died Sunday at her Manhattan home; she was 96. According to a close friend, director Rick McKay, Wray passed away quietly, "as if she was going to sleep." Canadian-born but raised in Los Angeles, the diminutive actress (her full name was the exotic Vina Fay Wray) appeared in a number of silent films in the 20s, including Erich Von Stroheim's The Wedding March, which showcased her beauty and brought her larger fame. Other notable films of the era included The Legend of the Condemned opposite Gary Cooper, Josef Von Sternberg's Thunderbolt (the director's first sound film), and The Four Feathers, which introduced her to Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Shoedsack, the team that would make King Kong. Though she made a startling 11 films in 1933, Wray will be remembered always and forever as Ann Darrow, an unemployed actress who takes a job in a movie filming on a strange island and finds herself the love object of a giant ape. Mixing sex appeal with vulnerability, and a pair of lungs that wouldn't quit, Wray established herself as the first "scream queen" and the iconic image of her held in Kong's giant fist (in actuality an eight-foot mechanical arm) became one of the most enduring and legendary images in cinema.

Alas, Wray's follow-up films were less than memorable, and she left the screen in 1942 to marry writer Robert Riskin (It Happened One Night). She made a return in the 50s in small roles, usually playing a teen ingenue's mother (as she did in Tammy and the Bachelor), but gave up moviemaking by the end of the decade and appeared sporadically on television through the 60s. Her last appearance was in the 1980 TV movie Gideon's Trumpet opposite Henry Fonda. In 1988 she published her autobiography, On the Other Hand, and was the guest of honor at the 1991 ceremony marking the 60th birthday of the Empire State Building; she wrote, "Each time I arrive in New York and see the skyline and the exquisite beauty of the Empire State Building, my heart beats a little faster. I like that feeling. I really like it!" Wray is survived by three children, including daughter Victoria Riskin. --Prepared by IMDb staff »

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'King Kong' star Fay Wray dead at 96

9 August 2004 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Fay Wray, who achieved screen immortality when she starred as the frightened girl carried by King Kong to the top of the Empire State Building, has died. The actress, who appeared in about 100 films, died on Sunday night at her apartment on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, according to The New York Times. She was 96. Her death was confirmed Monday by the WGA West, where Wray?s daughter Victoria Riskin recently served as president. »

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Investor group buys Culver Studios

6 April 2004 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Culver City will always have an iconic piece of old Hollywood, if an investment group calling itself Studio City Los Angeles has its way. The company has purchased the historic Culver Studios and an adjacent lot including an office building from Sony Pictures Entertainment and will retain Sony as a client while looking to beef up business from other film, TV and commercial producers. Representatives of the investment partners made the formal announcement Tuesday at the studios, in front of the landmark mansion built by producer David O. Selznick for use in the 1939 epic Gone With the Wind. They were surrounded by movie posters representing projects that have filmed on the lot through the years, including King Kong, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Air Force One and this year's 50 First Dates. The partners involved in making the $125 million purchase include Lehman Bros., Pacific Coast Capital Partners and Pacifica Ventures, a 20-year-old investment firm based in Southern California that will be the lead company in terms of day-to-day management of the property. »

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