Fay Wray and Robert Riskin
A Hollywood Memoir
Fay Wray (1907–2004) achieved cinematic immortality for her role in King Kong (1933). During a long and sterling career, she starred in more than 120 films opposite Hollywood's most famous leading men (Spencer Tracy, Gary Cooper, Clark Gable, William Powell, and Ronald Colman), and worked with master directors including Erich von Stroheim, William Wyler, William "Wild Bill" Wellman, Josef von Sternberg, Dorothy Arzner, Frank Capra, Michael Curtiz, Raoul Walsh, and Vincente Minnelli.
Robert Riskin (1897–1955) is considered to be one of the greatest screenwriters of all time. He was an Academy Award-winning writer and producer whose ten-year-long collaboration with Frank Capra yielded films such as American Madness (1932), It Happened One Night (1934), Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), Lost Horizon (1937), You Can't Take It with You (1938) and Meet John Doe (1941). He was hailed by many—including F. Scott Fitzgerald—as being "among the best screenwriters in the business."
In this moving and masterful work, Wray and Riskin's daughter interweaves the story of their lives and connects them to one of the most interesting periods in Hollywood history. At the heart of Fay Wray and Robert Riskin is a great love story, backed by a cast of characters that includes the greatest stars, filmmakers, screenwriters, and moguls of the era. Readers should not miss this touching and highly acclaimed book.
About the Author
"Victoria Riskin remembers her parents with warmth and a perceptible touch of melancholy. . . . Wray's diary entries, along with the adoring love letters Riskin wrote her when he was engaged in his war work, constitute the raw, mournful heart of their daughter's touching memoir."—Scott Eyman, Wall Street Journal
"Anyone who thinks that Fay Wray was just the girl screaming in King Kong's hand as he climbs the Empire State Building is in for a big—and pleasant—surprise. Her daughter Victoria Riskin has written a fascinating, richly detailed and superbly illustrated account of the lives of two remarkable people, Fay Wray and star screenwriter Robert Riskin, that spans one of the most interesting periods of Hollywood from the advent of the talkies through the depression and the war and on through the time of the Hollywood blacklist. This is not only the love story of two brilliantly talented people, it is a brilliant piece of cinematic history, at once robust, touching, and deeply satisfying, with a cast of characters that includes almost everybody of interest in those tumultuous years in the motion picture business. For anybody who is interested in the movies, Victoria Riskin's book will be a must-read."—Michael Korda, author of Charmed Lives: A Family Romance and former editor-in-chief of Simon & Schuster
"One of the great real-life Hollywood love stories; a warm, evocative, and deeply moving tale."—Kenneth Turan, former Los Angeles Times film critic
"I was always curious about life in Hollywood before I came here. I found out in this fascinating book. And wow! What a story it is!"—Kirk Douglas
"If this gracefully written memoir was simply the rich and absorbing account of two unique and talented people who fell in love, that would be enough. But it is also a study of the creative process; a colorful account of Hollywood's Golden Age; a telling slice of American history; and a deeply moving testament to a daughter's love. An altogether wonderful book."—Richard North Patterson
"An abundant account of what it's like to be the daughter of Hollywood's original power couple, and a must-read for fans and others with celebrity stars in their eyes."—Edith G. Tolchin, New York Journal of Books
"A joy to read . . . a Hollywood memoir of rare depth and sensitivity. All who love movies will be captivated by this splendid dual biography of two of Hollywood's most fascinating and colorful personalities"—Joseph McBride, author of Frank Capra: The Catastrophe of Success
"Graceful and loving. . . . There is so much to admire about both subjects that it's a pleasure to engage with them in this warm and edifying biography. It earns my highest recommendation."—Leonard Maltin, film historian and critic
"A wonderfully intimate memoir, vivid andpersonal in the best possible sense, illuminating parallel lives full of drama, humor, and indelible images. I found it compulsive reading."—James Curtis, author of Between Flops: A Biography of Preston Sturges; W. C. Fields: A Biography; and Spencer Tracy: A Biography
"A fascinating dual biography of one of Hollywood's most acclaimed screenwriters . . . and one of its most famous actresses. . . . A deeply personal story, informed by the author's affection for her parents. . . . Revealing. . . . Refreshing."—Booklist
"A vibrant account by a loving and thoughtful daughter of two decent people who were prominent Hollywood figures during the industry's studio era. Victoria Riskin interweaves the biographies of her parents, Fay Wray and Robert Riskin, and places their lives against the unfolding histories of Hollywood and the nation. Riskin alternates between closeups and long shots, writing with the intimacy of a daughter but also with the reportorial detachment of a historian who has done her homework. Wise, penetrating, smoothly written; a skillful juggling act and, first to last, a pleasure to read."—Foster Hirsch, author of Otto Preminger: The Man Who Would Be King
"Riskin gives a heartfelt account of the lives of her mother, actress Fay Wray, and her father, screenwriter Robert Riskin . . . [a] nostalgic and reverent remembrance of Riskin's famous parents and their Golden Age Hollywood milieu."—Publishers Weekly
"Her father, screenwriter Robert Riskin, sent Mr. Deeds to town and Mr. Smith to Washington, and her mother, Fay Wray, had a famous encounter with a large ape, but Victoria Riskin has her own story to tell—about them and of Hollywood during its most enviable era. Insightful, entertaining, and engaging—and, unlike Kong, I am no pushover."—Stephen M. Silverman, author of David Lean; Dancing on the Ceiling: Stanley Donen and His Movies
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