Almanac: Fay Wray

Fay Wray as Ann Darrow in the 1933 horror classic, "King Kong."
RKO Pictures

(CBS News) And now a page from our "Sunday Morning" Almanac: September 15th, 1907, 106 years ago today . . . Day One for a future actress destined to let out the scream heard round the world.

For that was the day Fay Wray was born in the small Canadian town of Cardston, Alberta.

After a couple of moves, she arrived in Los Angeles, where she started getting screen roles while still a teenager.

In 1933 she was cast in the biggest -- and LOUDEST -- role of her career ... as a naive young woman recruited by a filmmaker for a mysterious voyage.

Robert Armstrong (filming her screen test): "Throw your arms across your eyes and scream, Ann! Scream for your life!"
Wray: "Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!"
Bruce Cabot (aside): "What's he think she's really going to see?"

What she eventually saw, of course, was "King Kong," the giant gorilla who took a fancy to her . . . and eventually took her to the top of the Empire State Building.

Her ear-splitting shrieks along the way led many to dub her "The Queen of Scream" . . . setting a decibel standard rarely, if ever, equaled since.

Sadly, there was no subsequent role to top that one, though she made occasional performances for decades to come, including "Tammy and the Bachelor," with Debbie Reynolds, in 1957.

Still, Fay Wray was hardly forgotten.

She was a guest of honor at the 50th anniversary party for "King Kong" in 1983.

She was also welcomed to the Empire State Building's 60th birthday party in 1991.

And when she died in 2004, at the age of 96, the tower where she survived her greatest peril dimmed its lights in her honor.