Love in Tinseltown

By Richard Mineards   |   February 28, 2019
Author Victoria Riskin and filmmaker-writer husband David Rintels at the Hahn Hall book launch

The literati and the glitterati were out in force at the Music Academy of the West’s Hahn Hall when author Victoria Riskin, a Montecito resident for three decades, launched the 397-page biography of her parents, actress Fay Wray and screenwriter Robert Riskin.

As part of the celebrations, the 1934 Frank Capra-directed film, It Happened One Night, starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, with the screenplay by Riskin, was shown in the packed auditorium with a question and answer session with the author moderated by Cheri Steinkellner, producer of the hit TV series, Cheers.

Riskin, renowned for writing nearly all of Capra’s best films, including Platinum Blonde in 1931, 1936’s Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, Lost Horizon the following year, and Meet John Doe in 1941, married Wray in 1942 in the New York St. Regis Hotel suite of William Donovan, founder of the Office of Strategic Services, the predecessor of the CIA.

His daughter says the book, Fay Wray and Robert Riskin, blossomed out of her parents’ romance and marriage, as well as the response to World War II, and their commitment to Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal.

Key material for her extensive research was lost and, fortunately, found after last year’s mudslides, which destroyed her Randall Road home.

Victoria is now embarking on a 10-city book tour, including New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Austin, Texas.

Among the many, many friends turning out for the bibliophile blast off were Janet Garufis, Lee Luria, Corinna Gordon, Jane De Hart, Larry Feinberg and Starr Siegele, David and Anne Gersh, Stan and Betty Hatch, and Tecolote’s Mary Sheldon.


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