Polly Wagner (Pauline Wagner)

Polly Wagner

Polly Wagner

Actress. Wagner, who came to California as a young girl and graduated from Santa Monica High School, was discovered by an MGM talent scout while playing volleyball outside the Santa Monica beachfront home of Marion Davies and William Randolph Hearst. Although she had roles in ‘Lady Killer’ (1933) with James Cagney, ‘Little Miss Marker’ (1934) with Shirley Temple, ‘Mr. Deeds Goes to Town’ (1936) with Gary Cooper, ‘Vivacious Lady’ (1938) with Ginger Rogers, ‘The Mad Miss Manton’ (1938) with Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda, ‘Hold Back the Dawn’ (1941) with Charles Boyer and ‘New York Town’ (1941) with Fred MacMurray, her most famous scene was as Fay Wray’s stunt-double where she can be seen writhing on the ledge of the Empire State Building in the climax of the 1933 film ‘King Kong’. At an RKO studio picnic, she met and later married actor Mike Lally, who helped establish the Screen Actors Guild. In 1933, she was the second person — after Cagney — to sign the petition that would lead to the formation of the organization. Studio head Jack Warner fired Cagney and Wagner after learning that they had signed the pact, but he couldn’t do without Cagney’s talents and had to rehire him. Cagney then insisted that Wagner be given back her job as well, which Warner did. Wagner, who retired from making movies in the early 1940s to raise a family, died of natural causes.

More Images

  • Polly Wagoner grave -


  • August, 08, 1910
  • Shattuck, Oklahoma


  • May, 02, 2014
  • Montrose, California

Cause of Death

  • Natural Causes


  • Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills)
  • Los Angeles, Calif.

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