Fay Wray    A Message From Vicki Riskin

Dear Steve:

I have read each of the beautiful messages on your website about our mother's death. The lovely words of appreciation are so comforting at this time. She was an inspiration -- strong and gracious, witty and spiritual. It is remarkable to think about the span of her life and her amazing experiences.

Several years ago I went with her to Salt Lake City, Utah to visit Lark, the little mining town where she lived during part of her growing up. The town was soon to be leveled because the mine had been closed down and we both wanted to see it before it disappeared. We rented an air conditioned car and Fay said that we would need to pack provisions for the journey. "Provisions" struck me as a turn-of-the-century (the last century) expression. The memories, feelings and even language of her life in the 1910s were coming back to her. I bought us a couple of Cokes and tuna fish sandwiches (modern-day provisions) and we set out on a four lane highway to revisit her past. In 15 or 20 minutes we came to a sign for the town of Lark. "Here it is Mom," I said. "Oh, no...it can't be...it takes all day to get there from Salt Lake City," she protested. She, of course, had gone to Salt Lake as a young girl by horse and buggy, over rough roads, and it took a long exhausting day to make the trip. Now we whizzed down the highway and almost drove past the forgotten little town. We pulled into Lark. As we walked through this ghost of a town; it came alive with her description of the miners coming back at night carrying their lanterns and heading to the boarding house, of families going to Sunday church in a hut-like structure that became a movie theater Saturday night. That's where she fell in love with movies. So much of this is beautifully described in her autobiography.

To then find herself only a few years later a film star in Hollywood, the lead opposite Erich Von Stroheim in The Wedding March, actress in over 70 movies, the admired friend of Presidents and generals and famous literati, seems like a miracle of the destiny that she understood was hers to embrace. In her heart she remained simple, pure and wise and it was these qualities that made her life fulfilling to the end. She gave joy to so many who met her as if that, too, was her mission right until her last days. She lived from the era of horse and buggies, saw man land on the moon and the Mars space probe -- a remarkable life all in all.

These past few years it was difficult for her to answer the fan mail and I let her know not to worry, that those who cared for her would understand. She did manage, quite amazingly though with help, to attend some film festivals in recent years where she was embraced with wild enthusiasm.

On behalf of the family, I want to thank all who have written about Fay on this website and Steve for making the space so warmly available.


Vicki Riskin

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