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Frank Fay

Frank Fay (born Francis Anthony Donner; November 17, 1891 – September 25, 1961) was an American vaudeville comedian (the first stand-up) film and stage actor, and neo-Nazi activist. He is considered an important pioneer in stand-up comedy. For a time he was a well known and influential star, but he later fell into obscurity, in part because of his abrasive personality and fascist political views. He played the role of Elwood P. Dowd in the 1944 Broadway play Harvey by the American playwright Mary Coyle Chase. He is best known as actress Barbara Stanwyck's first husband. Their troubled marriage is thought by some to be the basis of the 1937 film A Star Is Born, in which the previously unknown wife shoots to stardom while her husband's career goes into sharp decline. Fay was notorious for his bigotry and alcoholism, and according to the American Vaudeville Museum, "even when sober, he was dismissive and unpleasant, and he was disliked by most of his contemporaries".

Although very talented, Fay offended most of the people he worked with because of his enormous ego. Former vaudevillian and radio star Fred Allen remarked, "The last time I saw him he was walking down Lover's Lane, holding his own hand." Actor Robert Wagner wrote that Fay was "one of the most dreadful men in the history of show business. Fay was a drunk, an anti-Semite, and a wife-beater, and Barbara [Stanwyck] had had to endure all of that", while according to actor and comedian Milton Berle "Fay's friends could be counted on the missing arm of a one-armed man." Berle, who was Jewish, claimed to have once hit Fay in the face with a stage brace after Fay, on seeing Berle watching his act from offstage, called out, "Get that little Jew bastard out of the wings".

Birth and Death Data: Born November 17, 1891 (San Francisco), Died September 25, 1961 (Santa Monica)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1918 - 1931

Roles Represented in DAHR: tenor vocal, songwriter

= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.

Recordings

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor B-21939 10-in. 5/29/1918 When I send you a picture of Berlin (You'll know it's over 'over there,' I'm coming home) Arthur Fields ; Peerless Quartet Male vocal solo and male vocal quartet, with orchestra songwriter  
Victor [Trial 1926-11-12-01] 10-in. 11/12/1926 Hang out the sun, take in the moon Frank Fay Male vocal solo, with piano vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 77833 10-in. 5/18/1918 When I send you a picture of Berlin Arthur Fields ; Peerless Quartet Male vocal solo and male vocal quartet, with orchestra songwriter  
Brunswick LTR296 10-in. 6/16/1930 Nobody knows Frank Fay Male vocal solo, with piano vocalist, tenor vocal  
Brunswick LTR297 10-in. 6/16/1930 My family saves string Frank Fay Male vocal solo, with piano vocalist, tenor vocal  
Brunswick LAT1125 12-in. 5/15/1931 Vacuum Oil program L, part 1 Frank Fay Radio transcription disc : Male vocal solo vocalist, tenor vocal  
Brunswick LAT1126 12-in. 5/15/1931 Vacuum Oil program L, part 2 Frank Fay Radio transcription disc : Male vocal solo vocalist, tenor vocal  
Brunswick LAT1127 12-in. 5/15/1931 Vacuum Oil program L, part 3 Frank Fay Radio transcription disc : Male vocal solo vocalist, tenor vocal  
Edison 6234 10-in. between 6/17/1918 and 6/20/1918 When I send you a picture of Berlin (You'll know it's over, "Over there," I'm coming home) Billy Murray Male vocal solo, with orchestra songwriter  
Edison 6322 10-in. 8/12/1918 When I send you a picture of Berlin medley Jaudas' Society Orchestra Jazz/dance band songwriter  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Fay, Frank," accessed May 22, 2024, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/108818.

Fay, Frank. (2024). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved May 22, 2024, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/108818.

"Fay, Frank." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2024. Web. 22 May 2024.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/108818

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