Fay Wray included a personal letter to King Kong in her memoir. “It said, ‘I want to tell you how much you’ve meant to me and all these good things that have happened as a result from being in this film with you,’” her daughter Victoria Riskin recalls to Closer.
Fans of 1933’s King Kong would follow Fay for the rest of her life, but Victoria says that her mother never let her fame harm their home life. “She was a great mom, who was always looking after us,” Victoria says.
“She was also quite courageous. She had to go back to work in the 1950s and 1960s to support our family after my father died. She worked steadily in television.” In her book Fay Wray and Robert Riskin: A Hollywood Memoir, Victoria, 76, recalls her mother’s sense of fun.
“She had a wonderful imagination,” Victoria says. “We’d play a game called ‘Let’s Get Lost,’ where we would drive aimlessly around the neighborhood. We also used to pretend we could speak foreign languages together. We would make up words and just laugh.”
Fay was also a Boy Scout leader for Victoria’s brother Robert’s troop. “She was always trying to think of what our interests were and what would make us happy,” Victoria says.
The only movie memorabilia displayed in Victoria’s childhood home was the Academy Award her father, Robert Riskin, won for writing 1934’s It Happened One Night, but Fay had something else — effortless star power.
“When she walked into a room, she commanded it, even if people didn’t know she was famous,” Victoria says. “She would make instant eye contact with you, really listen and be interested in you.” Fay did not need a giant ape to be somebody, but she remained forever grateful for her good fortune.
“I think she wished people knew some of the many other films she made,” Victoria says, “but she turned the whole King Kong experience into her own personal fable.”