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Frank Fay Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (4)  | Trivia (10)

Overview (5)

Born in San Francisco, California, USA
Died in Santa Monica, California, USA
Birth NameFrancis Anthony Donner
Nickname Faysie
Height 6' 1" (1.85 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Frank Fay was born on November 17, 1891 in San Francisco, California, USA as Francis Anthony Donner. He was an actor, known for God's Gift to Women (1931), Nothing Sacred (1937) and The Matrimonial Bed (1930). He was married to Barbara Stanwyck, Gladys Buchanan, Betty Kean and Frances White. He died on September 25, 1961 in Santa Monica, California.

Spouse (4)

Barbara Stanwyck (26 August 1928 - 30 December 1935) ( divorced)
Frances White (? - ?)
Betty Kean (? - ?) ( 1 child)
Gladys Buchanan (? - 14 July 1925) ( divorced)

Trivia (10)

Severe alcoholism was the purported reason his marriage to Barbara Stanwyck failed. It nearly obliterated his career until he revived himself in the 1940s, starring in the play "Harvey" as the lead character, Elwood P. Dowd, whose friend is an invisible rabbit. However, James Stewart played the role in the film version.
A popular vaudeville star, on stage from age 4, Fay was known for his clever wit and uncontrollable ego. He once, when asked during a court appearance, what his profession was, exclaimed "I'm the greatest comedian in the world." He later told his exasperated attorney, "I was under oath, wasn't I?".
Fay and Stanwyck appeared in the star studded film comedy The Stolen Jools (1931) (a.k.a. "The Slippery Pearls") in April 1931. (The film was produced as a fundraiser by the Hollywood Masquers Club and by Paramount Pictures to build the Will Rogers Memorial Hospital in Saranac Lake in New York.
Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald L. Smith, pg. 155-156. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387
His stormy 7 year marriage to Barbara Stanwyck ended after a drunken brawl, during which he tossed his only child, their adopted son, Dion, into the swimming pool. Dion (born John Charles Greene, February 5, 1932, Los Angeles County, California - died May 17, 2006, Van Nuys, Los Angeles County, California) was adopted by the couple on December 5, 1932.
A week before his death in 1961, he was confined to a hospital in St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California and deemed legally incompetent. He was interred in Calvary Cemetery, Los Angeles (Section F, Lot 1583, Grave 12).
He was awarded 2 Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Motion Pictures at 6282 Hollywood Boulevard and for Radio at 1752 Vine Street in Hollywood, California.
First husband of Betty Kean. Ex-brother-in-law of Jane Kean.
In Hollywood, everywhere he went, Frank Fay did not make a lot of friends. A standard joke of the time went "who's got the biggest prick in Hollywood?" Answer: "Barbara Stanwyck." The womanizing, alcoholic Fay's career floundered, while Stanwyck's flourished for decades. In 1935 the two were divorced, and Fay continued his downward spiral, until 1944, when he was chosen to play Elwood P. Dowd in the original New York City Broadway production of "Harvey".
Through his friend Oscar Levant, Frank Fay met and married Stanwyck, a former chorus girl who had just gotten her first acting role on Broadway (in "Burlesque", 1927). In 1929, they performed a dramatic sketch as "Fay and Stanwyck" at the Palace. Later that year, they were called to Hollywood, so Fay could star in the film Show of Shows (1929). Their marriage and experiences in Hollywood later reportedly was a basis of the iconic and oft-remade film, A Star Is Born (1937).

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