Hot Best Seller

Fay Wray and Robert Riskin: A Hollywood Memoir

Availability: Ready to download

A Hollywood love story, a Hollywood memoir, a (dual) Hollywood biography--the woman who stole the heart of King Kong and the man, Robert Riskin, one of the greatest screenwriters of all time, an Academy Award winner, producer, and longtime collaborator with Frank Capra on eight pictures. By their daughter, an acclaimed writer and producer. A Hollywood love story, a Hollywoo A Hollywood love story, a Hollywood memoir, a (dual) Hollywood biography--the woman who stole the heart of King Kong and the man, Robert Riskin, one of the greatest screenwriters of all time, an Academy Award winner, producer, and longtime collaborator with Frank Capra on eight pictures. By their daughter, an acclaimed writer and producer. A Hollywood love story, a Hollywood memoir, a dual biography of two of Hollywood's most famous figures, whose golden lives were lived at the center of Hollywood's golden age, written by their daughter, an acclaimed writer and producer. Fay Wray was most famous as the woman--the blonde in a diaphanous gown--who captured the heart of the mighty King Kong, the twenty-five-foot, sixty-ton gorilla, as he placed her, nestled in his eight-foot hand, on the ledge of the 102-story Empire State Building, putting Wray at the height of New York's skyline and cinematic immortality. Wray starred in more than 120 pictures opposite Hollywood's biggest stars--Spencer Tracy, Gary Cooper (The Legion of the Condemned, The First Kiss, The Texan, One Sunday Afternoon), Clark Gable, William Powell, and Charles Boyer; from cowboy stars Hoot Gibson and Art Accord to Ronald Colman (The Unholy Garden), Claude Rains, Ralph Richardson, and Melvyn Douglas. She was directed by the masters of the age, from Fred Niblo, Erich von Stroheim (The Wedding March), and Mauritz Stiller (The Street of Sin) to Leo McCarey, William Wyler, Gregory La Cava, "Wild Bill" William Wellman, Merian C. Cooper (The Four Feathers, King Kong), Josef von Sternberg (Thunderbolt), Dorothy Arzner (Behind the Make-Up), Frank Capra (Dirigible), Michael Curtiz (Doctor X), Raoul Walsh (The Bowery), and Vincente Minnelli. The book's--and Wray's--counterpart: Robert Riskin, considered one of the greatest screenwriters of all time. Academy Award-winning writer (nominated for five), producer, ten-year-long collaborator with Frank Capra on such pictures as American Madness, It Happened One Night, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, Lost Horizon, and Meet John Doe, hailed by many, among them F. Scott Fitzgerald, as "among the best screenwriters in the business." Riskin wrote women characters who were smart, ornery, sexy, always resilient, as he perfected what took full shape in It Happened One Night, the Riskin character, male or female--breezy, self-made, streetwise, optimistic, with a sense of humor that is subtle and sure. Fay Wray and Robert Riskin lived large lives, finding each other after establishing their artistic selves and after each had had many romantic attachments--Wray, an eleven-year-long difficult marriage and a fraught affair with Clifford Odets, and Riskin, a series of romances with, among others, Carole Lombard, Glenda Farrell, and Loretta Young. Here are Wray's and Riskin's lives, their work, their fairy-tale marriage that ended so tragically. Here are their dual, quintessential American lives, ultimately and blissfully intertwined.


Compare

A Hollywood love story, a Hollywood memoir, a (dual) Hollywood biography--the woman who stole the heart of King Kong and the man, Robert Riskin, one of the greatest screenwriters of all time, an Academy Award winner, producer, and longtime collaborator with Frank Capra on eight pictures. By their daughter, an acclaimed writer and producer. A Hollywood love story, a Hollywoo A Hollywood love story, a Hollywood memoir, a (dual) Hollywood biography--the woman who stole the heart of King Kong and the man, Robert Riskin, one of the greatest screenwriters of all time, an Academy Award winner, producer, and longtime collaborator with Frank Capra on eight pictures. By their daughter, an acclaimed writer and producer. A Hollywood love story, a Hollywood memoir, a dual biography of two of Hollywood's most famous figures, whose golden lives were lived at the center of Hollywood's golden age, written by their daughter, an acclaimed writer and producer. Fay Wray was most famous as the woman--the blonde in a diaphanous gown--who captured the heart of the mighty King Kong, the twenty-five-foot, sixty-ton gorilla, as he placed her, nestled in his eight-foot hand, on the ledge of the 102-story Empire State Building, putting Wray at the height of New York's skyline and cinematic immortality. Wray starred in more than 120 pictures opposite Hollywood's biggest stars--Spencer Tracy, Gary Cooper (The Legion of the Condemned, The First Kiss, The Texan, One Sunday Afternoon), Clark Gable, William Powell, and Charles Boyer; from cowboy stars Hoot Gibson and Art Accord to Ronald Colman (The Unholy Garden), Claude Rains, Ralph Richardson, and Melvyn Douglas. She was directed by the masters of the age, from Fred Niblo, Erich von Stroheim (The Wedding March), and Mauritz Stiller (The Street of Sin) to Leo McCarey, William Wyler, Gregory La Cava, "Wild Bill" William Wellman, Merian C. Cooper (The Four Feathers, King Kong), Josef von Sternberg (Thunderbolt), Dorothy Arzner (Behind the Make-Up), Frank Capra (Dirigible), Michael Curtiz (Doctor X), Raoul Walsh (The Bowery), and Vincente Minnelli. The book's--and Wray's--counterpart: Robert Riskin, considered one of the greatest screenwriters of all time. Academy Award-winning writer (nominated for five), producer, ten-year-long collaborator with Frank Capra on such pictures as American Madness, It Happened One Night, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, Lost Horizon, and Meet John Doe, hailed by many, among them F. Scott Fitzgerald, as "among the best screenwriters in the business." Riskin wrote women characters who were smart, ornery, sexy, always resilient, as he perfected what took full shape in It Happened One Night, the Riskin character, male or female--breezy, self-made, streetwise, optimistic, with a sense of humor that is subtle and sure. Fay Wray and Robert Riskin lived large lives, finding each other after establishing their artistic selves and after each had had many romantic attachments--Wray, an eleven-year-long difficult marriage and a fraught affair with Clifford Odets, and Riskin, a series of romances with, among others, Carole Lombard, Glenda Farrell, and Loretta Young. Here are Wray's and Riskin's lives, their work, their fairy-tale marriage that ended so tragically. Here are their dual, quintessential American lives, ultimately and blissfully intertwined.

30 review for Fay Wray and Robert Riskin: A Hollywood Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Faye Wray and Robert Riskin: A Hollywood Memoir by Victoria Riskin is a 2019 Pantheon Books publication. “You will star opposite the tallest, darkest leading man in Hollywood” – Merian C. Cooper, co-director of King Kong, 1933 I don’t recall the first time I watched the original version of King Kong, but it was aired frequently on television when I was very young. I watched it over and over again. I never felt afraid, only fascinated by it. Fay Wray’s performance probably had a lot to do with tha Faye Wray and Robert Riskin: A Hollywood Memoir by Victoria Riskin is a 2019 Pantheon Books publication. “You will star opposite the tallest, darkest leading man in Hollywood” – Merian C. Cooper, co-director of King Kong, 1933 I don’t recall the first time I watched the original version of King Kong, but it was aired frequently on television when I was very young. I watched it over and over again. I never felt afraid, only fascinated by it. Fay Wray’s performance probably had a lot to do with that fascination. It has been over a decade, at least, since I watched the old, original classic, which, if memory serves, aired on the Turner Classic Movie Channel, at the time. However, I remember the movie vividly, and despite remakes of the film, the Fay Wray classic is the only one I have ever seen, or ever will watch. Yet, not once, can I ever recall feeling the slightest bit interested in Fay Wray’s personal life. However, when I stumbled across this book on Overdrive, my interest was piqued. Written by the daughter of Fay Wray and famous screenwriter, Robert Riskin, this is not only a biography, but a piece of unique history and a real, authentic Hollywood love story. This book is well-researched and very organized- the first things I look for in any kind of memoir or biography. The book is packed with wonderful memories of some of the best old movies, with plenty of wonderful bits of behind the scenes information. The book alternates between Fay’s career and personal life and Robert’s, leading up their marriage, which wasn’t until Riskin was in his forties. From there the author explains the ups and downs the couple initially encountered due to world war two and the climate in Hollywood at the time. This portion of the book is a very interesting and informative period of history. The information is backed up with lovely letters written to Fay from Robert while he was away from home. Unfortunately, Fay and Robert had a limited time together, due to Robert’s health, but one can practically feel the humming chemistry between them while reading this book. “Every time I’m in New York, I say a little prayer when passing the Empire State Building. A good friend of mine died up there.” Fay Wray I didn’t know anything about Fay personally, and embarrassingly, didn’t initially recognize Robert’s name. Now, of course, I do recall his name and understand his vast contribution to films, many of which were collaborations with Frank Capra. I also learned that Fay appeared in many feature films prior to and after her most iconic role. I had a lot of fun looking up these old movies! Overall, this not a standard biography, it feels like a labor love for the author- a tribute to her mother, and a vindication for her father, who didn’t always get the credit he deserved. It’s a movie lover’s dream, and, is also a treat for those who enjoy history. It will even appeal to romantics who enjoy a good love story- especially one that is true! I for one, found this book endlessly fascinating, and enjoyed the overall tone of the book. It is obvious the author poured herself into this project, remaining objective, yet allowing her love for her parents to flow through the pages. But, course, no one could blame her for setting the record straight when it came to her father’s work. Victoria’s research is impeccable, but most importantly, I felt like I got to know her parents in an intimate way, which is a feat most biographers rarely accomplish. I came away with a deep respect for Fay and the life she carved out for herself and the impact she had on cinema and pop culture. I also feel Robert’s work, is equally important, and I was awed by his body of work and the amazing movies his writing helped bring to life. However, the most important impression I was left with is that in a business notorious for self-absorption, Fay and Robert prioritized home and country giving them the levity and attention they should have. Anyone who loves old Hollywood, movies, pop culture, and history will find this very personal, touching, and quite impressive biography of great interest. 4.5 stars

  2. 5 out of 5

    Robert Elisberg

    I tend to wade in warily when I read biographies, most-especially celebrity biographies. What I like in any biography or memoir is not so much that it's just nice tales of people's lives, but that it's as much a history book of the times with "edges" and shadings that give context. And to my great pleasure, this is that. Through a convoluted set of events, I was able to get my hands on an early copy of the book, and it was worth the effort. It's absolutely wonderful. This is not a mere collectio I tend to wade in warily when I read biographies, most-especially celebrity biographies. What I like in any biography or memoir is not so much that it's just nice tales of people's lives, but that it's as much a history book of the times with "edges" and shadings that give context. And to my great pleasure, this is that. Through a convoluted set of events, I was able to get my hands on an early copy of the book, and it was worth the effort. It's absolutely wonderful. This is not a mere collection of stories by a loving daughter putting her family world in the most-shining light, but rather about the Depression, the Golden Age of Hollywood, war, McCarthyism and more -- at the center of which are the two separate lives of the author's parents until they finally meet. But since that meeting doesn't come until the last third, it's like following a winding path of successes and major hurdles -- weaving with many remarkable and also dark figures -- before getting to that point. Helping too is that it's wonderfully written by a daughter who is herself a terrific, professional writer with great skill and insight. The risk of all memoirs like this is that it will fall into adulation, and in fairness while there are a few times when the book does creep towards that, it consistently pulls itself away by adding context, further depth and then moves on. I sense that's because (beyond being so well-written) underneath it all is the running theme that the best biographies have in making them not just specific on fascinating lives, but universal, asking who we are and how did we get here? The book is a gem.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jan C

    Enjoyable read. Wonderful portrait of the author's parents. A little mini-biography of Merian C. Cooper by way of explaining how he got Fay Wray her tallest leading man, a/k/a King Kong. What a life - hope to find his biography, Living Dangerously: The Adventures of Merian C. Cooper, Creator of King Kong. Many fine memories are shared. Especially Riskin's role in WWII in the OWI and how he presented Europe with films showing how wonderful America can be (or could then). I think some of them are s Enjoyable read. Wonderful portrait of the author's parents. A little mini-biography of Merian C. Cooper by way of explaining how he got Fay Wray her tallest leading man, a/k/a King Kong. What a life - hope to find his biography, Living Dangerously: The Adventures of Merian C. Cooper, Creator of King Kong. Many fine memories are shared. Especially Riskin's role in WWII in the OWI and how he presented Europe with films showing how wonderful America can be (or could then). I think some of them are shown on TCM now. And, of course, all the wonderful movies he wrote with Frank Capra directing. Sad to read about Fay's end and her fading mind toward the end in her mid-90s. Also sad to read about her father's end, too. And in the days before much in the way of health insurance, especially in the motion picture industry. It forced Fay to go back to work.

  4. 4 out of 5

    John Pielmeier

    Not only is this wonderful book a doorway into a Hollywood so many of us love, it is also a glimpse into a love story that touches our hearts and rocks us to the core. There's so much more to Wray than "King Kong" and Riskin is the writer who gave Capra the so-called "Capra Touch" - and this book puts these Hollywood Royals on the thrones they deserve to occupy. Not only is this wonderful book a doorway into a Hollywood so many of us love, it is also a glimpse into a love story that touches our hearts and rocks us to the core. There's so much more to Wray than "King Kong" and Riskin is the writer who gave Capra the so-called "Capra Touch" - and this book puts these Hollywood Royals on the thrones they deserve to occupy.

  5. 4 out of 5

    E. Nicholas Mariani

    This was honestly such a delight to read. I've always been a fan of Robert Riskin's writing ("Mr. Deeds Goes to Town" and "It Happened One Night" are two of my favorite movies), but somehow I never knew that he was married to actress Fay Wray. Written with adoring poignancy by their daughter Victoria, this book is both a touching love story, as well as a dual biography that sheds light on what it must have been like to live through the silent era, the Great Depression, the battle for labor union This was honestly such a delight to read. I've always been a fan of Robert Riskin's writing ("Mr. Deeds Goes to Town" and "It Happened One Night" are two of my favorite movies), but somehow I never knew that he was married to actress Fay Wray. Written with adoring poignancy by their daughter Victoria, this book is both a touching love story, as well as a dual biography that sheds light on what it must have been like to live through the silent era, the Great Depression, the battle for labor unions, World War 2, and the McCarthy hearings. And through it all, front and center, are two extraordinary lives that miraculously came together. Anyone who's interested in old Hollywood, as I am, will love this book. I found stories on almost every page that awakened a sense of nostalgia for a time and place I only wish I could visit, as well as for people long gone I only wish I could know. The book opens with J.M. Barrie's quote: "God gave us memories so that we might have roses in December." I'd like to thank Ms. Riskin for sharing her parents' story with us. I can think of no greater tribute than to have a daughter who would eulogize them in such a wonderful fashion.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    A very touching audiobook biography of a married couple, Fay Wray and Robert Riskin, who worked as an actress and screenwriter during Hollywood’s Golden Age. Fay Wray is famous for King Kong and The Most Dangerous Game. Riskin wrote many of Capra’s screenplays in the 1930s including It Happened One Night and Mr. Deeds Comes To Town. The Capra Touch might actually be Riskin’s writing. The author is the couple’s daughter and she makes an effort not to just tell the story of their marriage but of t A very touching audiobook biography of a married couple, Fay Wray and Robert Riskin, who worked as an actress and screenwriter during Hollywood’s Golden Age. Fay Wray is famous for King Kong and The Most Dangerous Game. Riskin wrote many of Capra’s screenplays in the 1930s including It Happened One Night and Mr. Deeds Comes To Town. The Capra Touch might actually be Riskin’s writing. The author is the couple’s daughter and she makes an effort not to just tell the story of their marriage but of the subjects’ beginnings and careers before their marriage. A very nice biography that is very balanced and caring towards her subjects. I always had a soft spot for Fay Wray because I saw her introduce King Kong when she was in her 90s and a friend of mine who was in the Peace Corps who had nursed Wray’s last husband before his death. She didn’t say much about them but said how kind and delightful the couple were. The book couches the subjects’ lives in their place and time giving a unique view of Hollywood and later NYC television from the 1930s through to the1950s.

  7. 5 out of 5

    L

    Until I saw this book by chance at the MFA Boston bookstore, I had no idea Fay Wray was married to the screenwriter, Robert Riskin who wrote such great screenplays for Meet John Doe, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, and It Happened One Night, among other biggies. Victoria Riskin’s compelling biography of her parents tells the story of their lives and at the same time describes the toll her father’s early death had on their family. Her mother held the family together — a lonely trajectory for many — but s Until I saw this book by chance at the MFA Boston bookstore, I had no idea Fay Wray was married to the screenwriter, Robert Riskin who wrote such great screenplays for Meet John Doe, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, and It Happened One Night, among other biggies. Victoria Riskin’s compelling biography of her parents tells the story of their lives and at the same time describes the toll her father’s early death had on their family. Her mother held the family together — a lonely trajectory for many — but she did it and persevered. HUAC, studio bosses, and professional betrayals abound, but Robert Riskin was a good guy. And so was Fay.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Samantha Glasser

    I got my copy signed at Capitolfest in August 2019.

  9. 5 out of 5

    LAPL Reads

    Fay Wray and Robert Riskin: A Hollywood Memoir is a meticulous and heartfelt account of the lives of the titular couple that was written by their daughter, Victoria Riskin. The book is a traditional biography, however the author’s relationship to the subjects gives the book resonance and depth that few show business bios can approach. The book is structured so each chapter alternates its focus between Riskin and Wray before it leads up to their meeting and marriage in the 1940s. It then follows W Fay Wray and Robert Riskin: A Hollywood Memoir is a meticulous and heartfelt account of the lives of the titular couple that was written by their daughter, Victoria Riskin. The book is a traditional biography, however the author’s relationship to the subjects gives the book resonance and depth that few show business bios can approach. The book is structured so each chapter alternates its focus between Riskin and Wray before it leads up to their meeting and marriage in the 1940s. It then follows Wray’s efforts to support her family following Riskin’s death in 1955. Along the way, we hear Victoria Riskin’s memories of her parents and her realization about the impact that both her parents had on both popular culture, and (particularly in the case of her father) the social politics of the nation. Victoria Riskin is deeply respectful of her parents and their accomplishments and their legacy. Robert Riskin is a name that is not as well known to the general public but needs to be, and odds are that you’ve seen some of the films he wrote: It Happened One Night (1934), Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), Meet John Doe (1941), Lady For a Day (1933), Lost Horizon (1937) and You Can’t Take It with You (1938). His collaborations with director Frank Capra turned out some of the finest American films ever made and helped to shape an optimistic social conscience during the darkest hours of the Great Depression. The films he and Capra crafted, particularly It Happened One Night, helped to elevate Columbia Pictures out of its ‘poverty row’ status, when it became the first film to capture the top five Academy Awards for 1934. Over the years, Capra took credit for crafting their collaborations to the point where he ultimately erased Riskin’s involvement altogether. Victoria Riskin fights to reassert that her father was the voice of optimism in these films and deserved equal (if not more) credit than Capra ever gave him credit for. She shows that her father, the son of idealistic working class immigrants, was shaped into a conscientious writer by his everyday experiences. He managed to convey an idealism that was unparalleled in American cinema and it remains untouched. Victoria Riskin paints a portrait of a man who was very much like the characters he wrote: principled, thoughtful, intelligent, hopeful and charming. Fay Wray has been immortalized for playing Ann Darrow in King Kong (1933), but that helpless starlet bears little resemblance to the hard-working lady who raised Victoria Riskin. Wray started working in her teens to support her family and would continue to do so through most of her life. Born in Canada to an icy, controlling mother who made the fateful (but inexplicable) decision to allow fourteen-year-old Fay to go to Hollywood, where after trials and tribulations, she found her way into movies. Wray’s career would span more than six decades, and she appeared in over 100 films as well as television and theater. Fay would endure many personal challenges in the early part of her life including having to defend her well-being against her demanding mother, and surviving a torturous marriage to writer John Monk Saunders that drained her both emotionally and financially. In the early 1940s she met Robert Riskin and the pair began a whirlwind romance culminating in their 1942 marriage; by the mid-1940s Wray was finally secure in her domestic life. She had retired from acting and began to focus on raising her family until Riskin’s health began to decline following a stroke in the early 1950s. His death in 1955 would pull the rug out from under her sense of security and she would have to return to acting to keep her family together. The final chapters of the book are particularly poignant as Riskin begins to ponder her father’s legacy and gives the reader a glimpse of Wray in her twilight years. Robert Riskin’s story skirts a number of issues that affected early Hollywood, notably his role in pushing screenwriters towards unionization--actions that would have consequences as McCarthyism was beginning to rise in the 1950s. Unbeknownst to him, the FBI began to compile a file on Riskin that in all likelihood would have been used against him if his poor health hadn’t taken him out of circulation in the 1950s. This monitoring was particularly insulting given Riskin’s selfless service for the Office of War Information during WWII, in which he took a radical cut in pay that would ultimately impact his family’s financial well-being when his health was in decline. The book is not just a genealogical odyssey for the author, but does have some great stories for film lovers. Chapter seven is a particular delight for movie buffs as Riskin begins to recount the development of Wray’s greatest career success, King Kong (1933), a film that would save RKO studios from bankruptcy and turn her into a pop culture icon recognized around the world. Riskin also follows the stories and production histories of her dad’s best films with longtime collaborator, Frank Capra. While it is particularly disheartening to hear that they more or less drifted apart, it’s almost bewildering to know that two men so completely different were not only able to collaborate but were able to make some of the finest films of all time. As Capra’s career began to decline in the 1950s, he began to grasp at straws to keep the memory of his once glorious career alive; this ultimately meant that he excised Riskin from both his professional and personal narratives. Capra did not visit Riskin while he was sick, nor did he attend his funeral when he passed. As the most recognizable name on the cover, Fay Wray will probably be the attraction for most readers (and she is one amazing lady!), but the book really rewards the audience by introducing us to Robert Riskin. The voice behind some of the most prolific films in American history, Riskin has been slighted because he has never really been given the recognition he deserves. This book is a step towards rectifying that slight and putting the spotlight on Riskin and the pivotal role of the screenwriter in the film making process. Reviewed by Nicholas Beyelia, Librarian, History and Genealogy

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sugarpuss O'Shea

    I adored this book. This is not your typical Hollywood, rose-colored-glasses, everyone-lives-happily-ever-after style of biography. Not only does it tell the love story of 2 of Classic Hollywood's more notable players --Fay Wray & Robert Riskin-- it also puts their stories in context to what was going on in the world around them at the time. There are stories about how Hollywood transitioned to 'talkies,' the Depression, Hollywood & WWII, the HUAC investigations, and of course the glamor that we I adored this book. This is not your typical Hollywood, rose-colored-glasses, everyone-lives-happily-ever-after style of biography. Not only does it tell the love story of 2 of Classic Hollywood's more notable players --Fay Wray & Robert Riskin-- it also puts their stories in context to what was going on in the world around them at the time. There are stories about how Hollywood transitioned to 'talkies,' the Depression, Hollywood & WWII, the HUAC investigations, and of course the glamor that went along with being a Hollywood Star. But it's also a love letter from a daughter to her parents. All in all, it is just a wonderful book. Even if you have zero interest in Hollywood's Golden Age, you will still enjoy this book..... Now, I hope the powers that be at TCM have read this & will devote some programing in honor of Fay & Robert.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Andrew A.

    Fay Wray and Robert Riskin: A Hollywood Memoir (Hardcover) by Victoria Riskin I loved this book! It made me laugh and cry. Fascinating stories that reconstruct a long-gone and much missed era. A must for anyone with the slightest in the subject. The author's evocation of bygone days combined with her personal story gives the book much greater emotive content than would a history of her parents alone. I particularly admired her father’s letter to her mother of March 12, 1944. So perceptive, though Fay Wray and Robert Riskin: A Hollywood Memoir (Hardcover) by Victoria Riskin I loved this book! It made me laugh and cry. Fascinating stories that reconstruct a long-gone and much missed era. A must for anyone with the slightest in the subject. The author's evocation of bygone days combined with her personal story gives the book much greater emotive content than would a history of her parents alone. I particularly admired her father’s letter to her mother of March 12, 1944. So perceptive, thoughtful and observant. Such integrity. I greatly enjoyed getting to know the author's parents as real people as well as the author herself. A great read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Terry Mckone

    I read an article about Fay Wray living in my home state in her youth. I thought it would be an interesting book and it was! It covers her early years in Hollywood as a silent star and leads up to all the movies she made before King Kong and after. It covers a lot of the history of early Hollywood up to and past World War II. Her husband Riskin was a screen writer and worked a great deal with Frank Capra. He did a lot of film work for the army during the war. Their daughter, the author, does a g I read an article about Fay Wray living in my home state in her youth. I thought it would be an interesting book and it was! It covers her early years in Hollywood as a silent star and leads up to all the movies she made before King Kong and after. It covers a lot of the history of early Hollywood up to and past World War II. Her husband Riskin was a screen writer and worked a great deal with Frank Capra. He did a lot of film work for the army during the war. Their daughter, the author, does a great job of including interesting details and there are a ton of pictures all throughout the book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Richard Dixey

    I have just finished reading this wonderful book! Not only is it a love story beautifully told, but as a meticulously researched biography it gives real insights into the economic and social conditions that lead to the growth of Hollywood, the events leading up to the second world war and the reconstruction afterward. It deserves a much wider readership than the film buff community, showing as it does the real idealism that shone through Riskin's parents and informed the whole wartime generation I have just finished reading this wonderful book! Not only is it a love story beautifully told, but as a meticulously researched biography it gives real insights into the economic and social conditions that lead to the growth of Hollywood, the events leading up to the second world war and the reconstruction afterward. It deserves a much wider readership than the film buff community, showing as it does the real idealism that shone through Riskin's parents and informed the whole wartime generation. A tremendous achievement.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Steve Shilstone

    A must own for Hollywood history buffs. Two famous people, who also happen to be fine human beings, come together at the right time. Result? Happiness.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Longo

    If you are interested in Hollywood history from the 1930s until about the late 1950s this entertaining, well researched and documented book is for you. It was written by Victoria Riskin. The daughter of Fay Ray and Robert Riskin. Fay Ray is known today as the apple of King Kong's eye. But her career spanned five decades and she made over 80 films, starting in the silent era. Robert Riskin was one of Hollywood's most famous screenwriters. He wrote the scripts for and collaborate with Frank Capra If you are interested in Hollywood history from the 1930s until about the late 1950s this entertaining, well researched and documented book is for you. It was written by Victoria Riskin. The daughter of Fay Ray and Robert Riskin. Fay Ray is known today as the apple of King Kong's eye. But her career spanned five decades and she made over 80 films, starting in the silent era. Robert Riskin was one of Hollywood's most famous screenwriters. He wrote the scripts for and collaborate with Frank Capra on some of the great films made during Hollywood's Golden Age: Mr. Deed Goes to Town, It happened One Night, Meet John Doe, Lost Horizons and many more. This book is a valuable addition to a library of books about Hollywood.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Paula

    I have been fascinated by Hollywood history since I was a kid, but like most people I only know the name Fay Wray because of the classic film "King Kong." Since I'm not particularly a fan of that movie, I was never particularly a fan of Wray. I was surprised to learn from this book that not only was she married to screenwriter Robert Riskin, but she had a long career, appearing in many films, on television, and also performing on Broadway and in summer stock on the East Coast. Unfortunately, mos I have been fascinated by Hollywood history since I was a kid, but like most people I only know the name Fay Wray because of the classic film "King Kong." Since I'm not particularly a fan of that movie, I was never particularly a fan of Wray. I was surprised to learn from this book that not only was she married to screenwriter Robert Riskin, but she had a long career, appearing in many films, on television, and also performing on Broadway and in summer stock on the East Coast. Unfortunately, most of her films were, I suppose, forgettable. At least, they weren't featured on "Million Dollar Movies", or the late, late night movie programs that were a fixture of my youth, the place where I discovered Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Fred Astaire, the Marx Brothers, and films like "Casablanca" and "The Philadelphia Story." Riskin died in his 50's, when his daughter, the author, was only a child, but she has painstakingly researched his life and work, as well as the life and work of her mother, who lived to be 96. Victoria Riskin's book is a well-told story, lovingly written. It made me want to see several of Wray's early films, as well as the films that Riskin oversaw for the Office of War Information during World War II.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kristi Richardson

    A dual biography of the author's parents Fay Wray and Robert Riskin. She lost her father fairly young, but her mother lived well into her 90's. Robert Riskin was the screenwriter for many Frank Capra films. Capra liked to take credit for everything in his pictures, but Riskin had a great deal to do with the magic of them. He also worked during World War II with the propaganda dept. in the USA government. His job was to make movies that would contradict the propaganda used by Hitler, Mussolini an A dual biography of the author's parents Fay Wray and Robert Riskin. She lost her father fairly young, but her mother lived well into her 90's. Robert Riskin was the screenwriter for many Frank Capra films. Capra liked to take credit for everything in his pictures, but Riskin had a great deal to do with the magic of them. He also worked during World War II with the propaganda dept. in the USA government. His job was to make movies that would contradict the propaganda used by Hitler, Mussolini and other countries. They were meant to show America in a good light and make people want to come to America. He arrived after the Allies liberated a country and set up a screen (sometimes just a sheet) and show them movies. The people were starved for entertainment and news of the world which they were unable to see during the war. He died from several strokes and devasted his family. Fay Wray is best known for King Kong but she made many other movies. She retired when she married Bob Riskin, but when he fell ill, she needed to go back to work. She was a remarkable woman who loved her family. This was a fascinating story of the early days of Hollywood. I borrowed this book from my local library.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    Enjoyed this joint bio. Though it's written by the daughter of the people in the title, she's done a tremendous amount of research, writes well, and isn't trying to excuse them for some the problems they had in life, nor make them better than they were. When they married, they'd both had previous relationships and were far from dewy-eyed innocents. And that made their marriage, which was quite loving, specail Fay Wray is famous for being King Kong's love interest, but I knew little else about her Enjoyed this joint bio. Though it's written by the daughter of the people in the title, she's done a tremendous amount of research, writes well, and isn't trying to excuse them for some the problems they had in life, nor make them better than they were. When they married, they'd both had previous relationships and were far from dewy-eyed innocents. And that made their marriage, which was quite loving, specail Fay Wray is famous for being King Kong's love interest, but I knew little else about her. She had a tough childhood, and became a movie actress in the 1920 at age 15. She was an early star, and had a complex personal life. An interesting and resilient person. Robert Riskin is one of those famous people you probably haven't heard of. He was a Hollywood film writer, working often with Frank Capra, who wrote movies many classic films such as It Happened One Night, Mr Deeds Goes to Town, Lost Horizons, Illicit, and Platinum Blonde. I was fascinated by his story. Witty, erudite, friends with many, and a complex man. If you are interested in classic films, I heartily recommend.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Davis Weinstock

    Sometimes there are some terrific reads, less frequently there are excellent books, and only rarely are both qualities in a single volume. With "Fay Wray and Robert Riskin," Victoria Riskin giftwraps for readers a captivating narrative of a storybook romance and family drama, written with sharp wit and admirable literary craft. The principal characters are finely and fully drawn, famous figures in Hollywood's most glamorous era, and their saga includes some of the screen's most enduring and belov Sometimes there are some terrific reads, less frequently there are excellent books, and only rarely are both qualities in a single volume. With "Fay Wray and Robert Riskin," Victoria Riskin giftwraps for readers a captivating narrative of a storybook romance and family drama, written with sharp wit and admirable literary craft. The principal characters are finely and fully drawn, famous figures in Hollywood's most glamorous era, and their saga includes some of the screen's most enduring and beloved films. Their actions and interactions are part of another bonus of this book: a gorgeously described and hugely insightful history of Hollywood's flailing development against major pressing and oppressing issues -- everything from unions to censorship and much more. For movie lovers, and for book lovers, Riskin makes us grateful for this book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Stephen M. Silverman

    Fay Wray is still a household name, thanks to her indelible role in the arms of the lead character in 1933's King Kong. Thanks to her daughter, Victoria Riskin, a screenwriter and producer in her own right, the fascinating background and later career of Wray is told in an utterly satisfying, page-turning account, starting with Wray's impoverished Mormon childhood and strange, lucky breaks in Hollywood when she was 14. The story is shared with Riskin's father, protean screenwriter (famously for d Fay Wray is still a household name, thanks to her indelible role in the arms of the lead character in 1933's King Kong. Thanks to her daughter, Victoria Riskin, a screenwriter and producer in her own right, the fascinating background and later career of Wray is told in an utterly satisfying, page-turning account, starting with Wray's impoverished Mormon childhood and strange, lucky breaks in Hollywood when she was 14. The story is shared with Riskin's father, protean screenwriter (famously for director Frank Capra) Robert Riskin, who first hit it big with Lady for a Day before their Oscar grand slam It Happened One Night. It was Riskin and Capra who made Columbia Pictures a force to be reckoned with. Told with clear-eyed objectivity, the book takes one back to the golden days of Broadway and, especially, Hollywood. After finishing this, I felt like going to Ciro's.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Gerald Matzke

    Victoria Riskin does a very good job of telling the story of her mother and father, Fay Wray and Robert Riskin. The reader gets an inside look at Hollywood of the thirties and forties with the advent of talkies, the development of the major studios and the lives of the stars. The romance of a major star and a top screen writer was only a part of this book. Their lives are chronicled by their youngest daughter who spent several years researching their lives and the lives of their friends and cowo Victoria Riskin does a very good job of telling the story of her mother and father, Fay Wray and Robert Riskin. The reader gets an inside look at Hollywood of the thirties and forties with the advent of talkies, the development of the major studios and the lives of the stars. The romance of a major star and a top screen writer was only a part of this book. Their lives are chronicled by their youngest daughter who spent several years researching their lives and the lives of their friends and coworkers who had important influences on them. It was an interesting read as names of significant movie personalities kept popping up. Even politics plays a part in their lives especially during and after World War II. If you are only a casual movie fan, you should enjoy this book about the beauty who won the heart and caused the death of King Kong.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Gary

    I've read Hollywood bios in the past, but this one was doubly interesting as it showed the paths of Faye Wray (orig. King Kong starlet) and writer Robert Riskin ("It's A Wonderful Life" scply). Both sides of showbiz are revealed as an iconic star like Wray makes her way up the Tinsel Town ladder, her 1st meeting with Riskin which came to nothing. Then the twosomes personal lives diverge as she marries an actor and he marries too. Successes follow until both marriages break up and the twosome fin I've read Hollywood bios in the past, but this one was doubly interesting as it showed the paths of Faye Wray (orig. King Kong starlet) and writer Robert Riskin ("It's A Wonderful Life" scply). Both sides of showbiz are revealed as an iconic star like Wray makes her way up the Tinsel Town ladder, her 1st meeting with Riskin which came to nothing. Then the twosomes personal lives diverge as she marries an actor and he marries too. Successes follow until both marriages break up and the twosome finally come together after WW2 though tragedies eventually follow. Best of all is the many interactions with other Hollywood movers & shakers (Riskin worked with Frank Capra). If you are at all interested in Old Hollywood this is a wonderful page-turner. Check it out!!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Maurice Tougas

    You probably know Fay Wray as the woman in the ape's paw from King Kong, and perhaps nothing else. But Alberta-born Fay Wray was a major Hollywood star, beginning in the silent era and carrying on well into the 1950s. Robert Riskin you likely don't know, but he was for many years one of Hollywood's top script writers; some of his films – It Happened One Night, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, Lost Horizon – are classics. Author Victoria Riskin is the daughter of Riskin and Wray, and she has written a lov You probably know Fay Wray as the woman in the ape's paw from King Kong, and perhaps nothing else. But Alberta-born Fay Wray was a major Hollywood star, beginning in the silent era and carrying on well into the 1950s. Robert Riskin you likely don't know, but he was for many years one of Hollywood's top script writers; some of his films – It Happened One Night, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, Lost Horizon – are classics. Author Victoria Riskin is the daughter of Riskin and Wray, and she has written a loving biography of the two. Fans of glamorous old Hollywood will enjoy this nostalgic look back at a golden era of Hollywood, which becomes tarnished as the blacklist sets in. Mostly it is a love letter to her parents, and as such it makes for a touching read.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    This is not a typical Hollywood biography, but rather the memoir of a highly skilled writer who is exploring the history of a period in America, behind the glamor, through the extraordinary lives of her parents who just happened to be famous...really famous. Ms. Riskin is a seeker of truth who writes a fascinating story with warmth, humor and honesty. Clearly, it was as much a learning process for the writer as it is for the reader.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Irene O'Garden

    Here’s a wonderful book to sink your happy Hollywood teeth into! This double-scoop biography presents the remarkable romantic story of one of our most luminous stars and one of our finest screenwriters. Rich with personal anecdotes and family photos from the Golden Age of Hollywood and beyond, this book is resonant with the wit and depth of these two great hearts told in the warm, wise voice of their beloved daughter.

  26. 4 out of 5

    B Pastore

    I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. Fabulous book!!! Not being someone who has been interested in the history of Hollywood -- I started reading it I was thinking what a lovely story being shared by loving daughter. The more I read the more I was hooked -- I was in the history of Hollywood, the people and the places. It was amazing to me just how much the author knew of her parents and their lives. A great read :-) I certainly recommend it.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Diana

    Good for anecdotes and background on Riskin & Wray, but definitely written with rose-colored glasses (understandable from the child of both, but you'll walk away from this book thinking that neither had any faults whatsoever). Interesting background on the Riskin/Capra partnership. Apparently, what most of us think of as Capraesque is Riskinesque. Good for anecdotes and background on Riskin & Wray, but definitely written with rose-colored glasses (understandable from the child of both, but you'll walk away from this book thinking that neither had any faults whatsoever). Interesting background on the Riskin/Capra partnership. Apparently, what most of us think of as Capraesque is Riskinesque.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Erlichman

    I rarely read bios, but this one is outstanding. Wonderful descriptions of Hollywood in the 1930s and 1940s. I would have loved to meet Fay Wray and Robert Riskin. Both seemed to have integrity, talent, and intelligence and seemed to be liked by everyone. A most enjoyable book. Kudos to Victoria Riskin. Hope it makes the best seller list.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    Great biography I love to read about the great stars of the 1920s, 30s and 40s. This book about Fay Wray by her daughter is one of the best. She had an interesting life and a sense of grace and balance. She took what came her way and handled it. I finished the book feeling happy to know more about her, delighted she had lived such a long life so successfully.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Meri-Lyn

    Very interesting to read bout Fay Wray who lived in Utah before going to Hollywood and so many of the old Hollywood stars. I really enjoyed all of the stories and pictures from the early days. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the old movies and a little history.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...