Saturday, January 19, 2008

Living Silent Movie Stars

Fay Ray

A few years back when Loretta Young died, I wondered to myself if there were any other silent film stars still living. I poked around the Internet but didn't find much. Eventually I forgot about it. Then in 2004 Fay Ray (King Kong's girlfriend) passed. I had by then become a huge fan of silent movies and I felt the loss keenly. To my shame I didn't even know she was still with us.

Well I finally got around to figuring out who's left and the answer is: not many. Nobody who could really have been called a star is still with us, though there are a number of working actors who continue to creek along. There are also a number of child actors who went on to bigger things in the talkie era who are still living-Mickey Rooney is perhaps the most famous example of this.

In any case, soon they'll all all be gone and with them an amazing period of Hollywood history. Their work however will live forever.


Donald Sosin said...

Fay Wray was a wonderful, lively person whom we met shortly before she passed away. She came to the Pordenone Festival and spoke, and also appeared at the Brooklyn Academy of Music where she engaged our 14-year old son in conversation for half an hour!
We miss her.

Still around: Jean Darling, of the Our Gang comedies, a curly-headed blonde then, now an 85-year old pintsized sliverhaired pixie with flashing eyes and a wicked sense of humor and still with the lovely voice that won her the part of Carrie in the first production of CAROUSEL on Broadway.

And of course, there's Diana Serra Carey, aka Baby Peggy, a terrific child actress who was one of the highest paid people in Hollywood in the early 20's. She is an accomplished writer and has also made a number of visits to the Pordenone Festival. It is great that these people are still here to share their time and stories with us.


Mike Stajduhar said...


Many thanks for your kind post on my blog. The internet is an amazing thing. Mention Fay Ray in a posting and get an email from somebody who's actually met her-the same day. And not just anybody, but the guy who scored Nosferatu and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (respectively, the first silent I saw on television-I was quite young, and the first silent I saw in a theater). I've got to say it's a huge honor to exchange emails with you.

Keep up the good fight,

Mike Stajduhar

Lew Jaffe said...

You might enjoy the on- going series on my blog about the bookplates of actors and actresses

Mike Stajduhar said...

Thanks Lew. Very cool site.

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