Harry Carey Jr., a character actor known for his roles in westerns, particularly with director John Ford, died on Dec. 27. He was 91.
One of those faces everyone knows but can never put a name to, Harry Carey Jr. played in over 100 movies and television shows. He was one of Hollywood’s most familiar character actors.
Carey was one of the actors director John Ford would utilize again and again, belonging to the elite group informally known as the John Ford Stock Company. This group consisted of some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including Ward Bond, Victor McLaglen, Jane Darwell, Arthur Shields and John Wayne.
After his role in “Pursued,” Carey’s friend John Wayne suggested Harry Carey Jr. to Howard Hawks for a role in “Red River” and also recommended him to John Ford.
Carey appeared with veteran actor John Wayne in Ford westerns like “She Wore A Yellow Ribbon,” “Rio Grande” and “The Searchers,” He also appeared with John Wayne in “Island in the Sky,” “Gun the Man Down,” “Rio Bravo,” “The Undefeated,” “Big Jake” and “Cahill U.S. Marshall.”
All in all, Harry Carey Jr. appeared in 11 Ford films and roughly 50 westerns. He wrote a book about his experiences with John Ford titled, “Company of Heroes, My Life As An Actor in the John Ford Stock Company.”
Harry Carey Jr. was born Harry G. Carey in Saugus, Calif. on May 16, 1921. He was the son of Hollywood pioneer Harry Carey and Olive Carey. In fact, Carey’s first film with Ford was “Three Godfathers.” John Ford dedicated this to Harry Carey Sr., Ford’s first patron and star.
In addition, Harry Carey Jr. appeared with his father in “Red River,” and with his mother in “The Searchers.“ “Two Rode Together” and “Monkey Business.”
In later years, Carey played the leader of a group of bikers in “Mask.” He also appeared in “Monkey Business,” “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” “Mr. Roberts,” “Nickelodeon,” “The Long Riders,” “The Way West” and “The Whales of August.”
Harry Carey Jr. won many awards in his long career. He was awarded a Golden Boot by the Motion Pictures & Television Fund Foundation in 1987. In 2003, he won a Silver Spur Award from Reel Cowboys. Also in 2003, he was inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.
Harry Carey Jr. died from natural causes in Santa Barbara, Calif. He is survived by his wife Marilyn, who he married in 1944, and four children.