On the one hand she's in the palm of King Kong, and on the other she has acted in 75 other movies and had a very bumpy...

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ON THE OTHER HAND: A Life Story

On the one hand she's in the palm of King Kong, and on the other she has acted in 75 other movies and had a very bumpy private life--which she relates here quite movingly. Now 80, Wray writes in a voice as winsome and chaste as if she were 18, her every tone as refreshing and direct as the girl from the Canadian Rockies she once was. If there is one leading note in her tale it's her trust in the best qualities of whomever she speaks with or writes about, as if they mirror her own best being. For this is no bed-hopping bio. Wray admits to only two indiscretions, and then only after she has taken readers to hell and back and has them rooting for her to get some hormonal fun out of life. One is a suave, shipboard Italian, and the other is Howard Hughes, who pursued her with great gallantry. Meanwhile, Fay's first smash film, at 18, was as the heroine of Erich von Stroheim's The Wedding March, in which her every frame has a sublime innocence that still registers like shot silk today. Her next high point was in a Broadway musical, Nikki, wherein she was supported by ravishing Cary Grant (Archie Leach at the time), with whom she had a lifelong friendship forever verging on crackling intimacy. Her marriage to splendidly handsome, dashing, well-spoken screenwriter John Monk Saunders, an alcoholic drug-addict, started off badly, with John always trotting off to his mistresses (Wray never denied him his pleasures), winding up time after time in drying-out spots, being absolutely encased in self-satisfactions, robbing her blind of every penny, and at last hanging himself in the closet. Her second marriage to screenwriter Robert Riskin was a great joy, though it collapsed under a brain aneurysm that left him paralyzed for five years before his death. Her third marriage is a winner. A survivor's story without one toothmark of cynicism.

Pub Date: Feb. 17, 1988

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1988