Harry Carey Jr.

Henry George Carey Jr. (May 16, 1921 – December 27, 2012) was an American actor. He appeared in more than 90 films, including several John Ford Westerns, as well as numerous television series.[2]

Harry Carey Jr.
Carey in 1948
Henry George Carey Jr.

(1921-05-16)May 16, 1921
DiedDecember 27, 2012(2012-12-27) (aged 91)
Years active19462012
Marilyn Fix
(m. 1944)
RelativesPaul Fix (father-in-law)
Military career
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service1941-1946
Rank Pharmacist mate 2nd class[1]
Awards Naval Good Conduct Medal

Early life

Carey was born in the Saugus neighborhood of Santa Clarita, California, the son of actor Harry Carey (1878–1947) and actress Olive Carey (1896–1988). As a child, he learned to speak Navajo.[3] His maternal grandfather was vaudeville entertainer George Fuller Golden. As a boy, he was nicknamed "Dobe", short for adobe, because of the color of his hair. He grew up on his parents' ranch in Santa Clarita; they had horses and cattle.[2] His family ranch was later turned into a historic park by the Los Angeles County and was named Tesoro Adobe Park.[2]

Military service

During World War II, Carey Jr. served in the United States Navy[3] as a Pharmacist Mate 2nd Class (medical corpsman) in the Pacific War. However, he was transferred back to the United States (against his wishes) to serve with his father’s good friend the director John Ford in a Naval photographic unit attached to the Office of Strategic Services.[4] He then helped to make training films for the Navy and the OSS.[1][2]


After leaving the Navy, Carey attempted a singing career to avoid acting but was unsuccessful.[5] He began acting in the John Ford Stock Company with his father.[2] Carey collaborated frequently with director John Ford, who was a close friend. He appeared in such notable Ford films as 3 Godfathers (1948), She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949), The Searchers (1956), and Cheyenne Autumn (1964).[3] Both of his parents had appearances in Ford's films as well. He became a respected character actor like his father. Carey appeared in many Westerns. He made four films with director Howard Hawks. The first was Red River, which featured both Carey and his father in separate scenes, followed by Monkey Business, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and Rio Bravo. Carey is credited in Rio Bravo, but his scenes were cut. Carey speculated that Hawks either did not like Carey's outfit or cut the scene because Carey addressed Hawks as "Howard" instead of "Mr. Hawks".[6]

Carey also collaborated with John Wayne with whom he made nine films. He got to work with Wayne first in Red River and last in Cahill U.S. Marshal.[3][2] He also starred in nine films alongside Ben Johnson including Rio Grande and Cherry 2000.[3] Between 1955 and 1957, Carey appeared as ranch counselor Bill Burnett in the serial Spin and Marty, seen on Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Club.[7] A DVD version of The Adventures of Spin & Marty was released in December 2005 as part of the Walt Disney Treasures series. Carey was interviewed by Leonard Maltin on the 50th anniversary of the series' debut as a DVD bonus feature.[8] In the 1960s, Carey appeared on such western series as Have Gun - Will Travel and The Legend of Jesse James.[3]

On April 29, 1962, Carey was cast as Mitch Evers in the episode "Cort" of the ABC-WB Western series, Lawman, with John Russell and Peter Brown. In the story line, Cort Evers (Kevin Hagen), who is much younger than he appears, seeks revenge against his brother Mitch, whom he mistakenly blames for betraying six Union Army prisoners from their hometown during the American Civil War. Mitch is compelled to confront Cort in a shootout during which he explains that it had been Cort himself, under the influence of a fever, who betrayed the prisoners. Cort faints to the ground as he remembers the startling truth of his brother's words.[9]

In 1980, Carey portrayed George Arthur in the movie The Long Riders, a film about the exploits of Jesse James. In 1985, Carey played the aging biker Red in the movie Mask.[10] In 1987, Carey was a featured actor in the film, The Whales of August, with Bette Davis, Lillian Gish, Vincent Price, and Ann Sothern. In this film, Carey portrayed a good-natured and noisy handyman and delivered his lines in a perfect Maine accent.[11] In 1990, Carey appeared in the film Back to the Future Part III in a saloon scene set in 1885. In 1993, he made a cameo in the film Tombstone as Marshal Fred White.[5]

Carey appeared in Tales from the Set, a series of video interviews in which he discussed various individuals with whom he worked. The series debuted in France at the Epona Festival, an event devoted to horses, in October 2007.[12] In 2009, Carey and his partner Clyde Lucas completed Trader Horn: The Journey Back, a remembrance of the 1931 adventure film featuring the elder Carey.[13] Carey attempted to produce a feature film called Comanche Stallion, a project which John Ford had considered making in the early 1960s, based on the 1958 book by Tom Millstead.[14]

Personal life

He married Marilyn Fix, daughter of actor Paul Fix, in 1944. The couple went on to have four children, including son Henry George Carey III.[3]

Carey wrote an autobiography, Company of Heroes: My Life as an Actor in the John Ford Stock Company, which was published in 1996.[15]


Carey died of natural causes in a hospice on Thursday, December 27, 2012, in Santa Barbara at the age of 91.[2] His ashes are interred at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery.[16] Survivors included his wife, the former actress Marilyn Frances Fix Carey (died 4/25/2017); a son, Thomas; two daughters, Melinda and Patricia; and three grandchildren. He was preceded in death by a son Steven Carey, who died in 1989. At the time of his death, he was reported to be the last living member of the John Ford Stock Company, though in reality John Wayne's son Patrick Wayne survived him.[5]

Selected filmography



  • The Lone Ranger - "Return of Dice Dawn" - Dice Dawson, Alias, Jay Thomasson (1955)
  • Have Gun - Will Travel - "The Road to Wickenburg" - Sheriff Jack (1958) Goodfellow
  • Have Gun - Will Travel - "The Man Who Wouldn't Talk" - Bud Sorenson (1958)
  • The Grey Ghost - "The Picnic" - Caldwell (1958)
  • Mackenzie's Raiders - "Uprising" - Ed Gary (1959)
  • Gunsmoke - "Horse Deal" - Deesha (1959)
  • Have Gun - Will Travel - "The Posse" - Sheriff (1959)
  • Bonanza - "Vendetta" - Zack Morgan (1959)
  • Wagon Train - "Chuck Wooster, Wagon Master" - Willkins (1959)
  • Rawhide - "Incident of the Shambling Man" - Tanner (1959)
  • The Rifleman - "The Deserter" - Lt. Paul Rolfe (1960)
  • Bonanza - "The Mission" - Corporal Burton (1960)
  • Have Gun - Will Travel - "The Sanctuary" - Jonas Quincy (1960)
  • Have Gun - Will Travel - "The Legacy" - Banker Burton (1960)
  • Have Gun - Will Travel - "The Marshal's Boy" - Frank Gulley (1960)
  • Have Gun - Will Travel - "The Misguided Father" - Sheriff Stander (1960)
  • The Rifleman - "The Journey Back" - Lt. Vaughn (1961)
  • Laramie - "The Debt" - Harry Markle (1961)
  • Gunsmoke - "Bad Sheriff" - Bill Turloe (1961)
  • Whispering Smith - "Safety Valve" - Sgt. Curt Stringer (1961)
  • Have Gun - Will Travel - "The Revenger" - Sheriff Conlon (1961)
  • Have Gun - Will Travel - "The Tax Gatherer" - Jess Turner (1961)
  • Perry Mason - "The Case of the Roving River" - District Ranger Frank Deane (1961)
  • Wagon Train - "The George B. Hanrahhan Story" - Tim Hogan (1962)
  • Laramie - "Time of the Traitor" - Hobey (1962)
  • Gunsmoke - "Abe Blocker" - Jake (1962)
  • Laramie - "Lost Allegiance" - Whitey Banister (1962)
  • Checkmate - "The Bold and the Tough" - Phil Cassidy (1962)
  • Lawman - episode - Cort - Mitch Evers (1962)
  • Have Gun - Will Travel - "Jonah and the Trout" - Jonah Quincy (1962)
  • Laramie - "The Barefoot Kid" - Dan Emery (1962)
  • Gunsmoke - "Quint Asper Comes Home" - Grant (1962)
  • Alcoa Premiere - "Flashing Spikes" - Man in the Dugout (1962)
  • Have Gun - Will Travel - "Taylor's Woman" - Thad Taylor (1962)
  • Rawhide - "The Deserters' Patrol" - Walsh (1962)
  • Ripcord - Carl Devlin - Para Nurse (1962)
  • Ripcord - Cheyenne Bronson - A Free Falling Star (1963)
  • Have Gun - Will Travel - "Face of a Shadow" - Earl Tibner (1963)
  • Wagon Train - "The Martin Gatsby Story" - Jeb Colton (1963)
  • Have Gun - Will Travel "Sweet Lady of the Moon" - Ben Murdock (1963)
  • Gunsmoke -" The Quest for Asa Janin" - Sheriff Hank Colridge (1963)
  • Wagon Train - "The Molly Kincaid Story" - Charlie Hankins (1963)
  • Wagon Train - "The Sam Pulaski Story" - John Jay Burroughs (1963)
  • Bonanza - "The Flannel-Mouth Gun" - Phil Shelton (1965)
  • Wagon Train - "The Silver Lady" - Walt Thompson (1965)
  • Gunsmoke - "Bank Baby" - Jim Fisher (1965)
  • Branded - "Leap Upon Mountains" - Lt. John Pritchett (uncredited) (1965)
  • Branded - "The Vindicators" - Lt. John Pritchett (1965)
  • The Virginian - "The Modoc Kid" - Bob Archer (1967)
  • Gunsmoke - "Baker's Dozen" - Will Roniger (1967)
  • Bonanza - "Judgement at Red Creek" - Mapes (1967)
  • Gunsmoke - "Waco" - Nathan Cade (1968)
  • Mannix - "Missing: Sun and Sky" - Floyd Brand (1969)
  • The Virginian - "Follow the Leader" - Thad Miley (1970)
  • Gunsmoke - "Gold Train: The Bullet" parts 1-3 - Kelliher (1971)
  • Banacek - "Horse of a Slightly Different Color" - Dean Barrett (1974)
  • Hec Ramsey - "Scar Tissue - Prospector" (1974)
  • Gunsmoke - "Trail of Bloodshed" - Amos Brody (1974)
  • Police Woman - "Sons" (1978)
  • B.J. and the Bear - "Fire in the Hole" - Joe Pogovich (1980)
  • Little House on the Prairie - "A New Beginning" - Sheriff Pike (1980)
  • Dallas - "End of the Road: Part 1" - Red (1981)
  • Knight Rider - "Not a Drop to Drink" - Josh Morgan (1982)
  • CHiPs - "Flare Up" - Grandfather Cross (1982)
  • Hollywood Greats - TV series documentary - "John Wayne" - himself (1984)
  • Biography - TV series documentary - "John Wayne: The Unquiet American" - himself (1987)
  • Cowboys: Ben Johnson & Harry Carey Jr. - documentary (1988)
  • John Wayne Standing Tall - TV movie - himself (1989)
  • B.L. Stryker - "Auntie Sue" - Jones (1989)
  • Thank Ya, Thank Ya Kindly - TV movie documentary - himself (1991)
  • Omnibus - TV Series documentary - "John Ford: Part One" - himself (1992)
  • Legends of the American West - video documentary - himself (1992)
  • John Ford - TV movie documentary - himself (1993)
  • Ben Johnson: Third Cowboy on the Right - documentary - himself (1996)
  • Howard Hawks: American Artist - TV movie documentary - himself (1997)
  • G.I. Joe: The Ernie Pyle Story - TV movie documentary (1998)
  • American Masters - TV series documentary - "John Ford/John Wayne: The Filmmaker and the Legend" - himself (2006)
  • Harry Carey Jr Hosts John Wayne Meets Lucy - video documentary short -himself (host) (2009)
  • Harry Carey Jr's Tribute to John Wayne Producer - video short - himself (2010)


For his contribution to the television industry, Carey was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6363 Vine Street.[17] In 1987, Carey received the Golden Boot award from the Motion Pictures & Television Fund Foundation.[10] In 2003, he was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.[10] That same year he also received the Silver Spur award that was given to him by Reel Cowboys.[10]

Further reading

  • Carey Jr., Harry (1994). Company of Heroes: My Life As An Actor in the John Ford Stock Company. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0-8108-2865-0.
  • Marona, Christopher (Photographer) and Harry Carey Jr. (Foreword). Colorado Cowboys. Englewood, Colorado: Westcliffe Publishers. 1996. ISBN 1-56579-152-5


  1. "Carey, Henry, PhM2c". www.navy.togetherweserved.com. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
  2. "Western movie character actor Harry Carey Jr. dies at 91". Reuters. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  3. Biography for Harry Carey Jr. on IMDb
  4. Wyss, Andrea. "Creator Info". Harry Carey, Jr. papers. Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University.
  5. Bergan, Ronald (30 Dec 2012). "Harry Carey Jr obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
  6. Courtney, Joyner, C. (2009). Westerners: Interviews With Actors, Directors, Writers and Producers. McFarland. ISBN 9780786443031.
  7. "Spin and Marty review". Atlas Communications. June 2006. Retrieved 2009-02-25.
  8. Leonard Maltin (narrator) (2005). The Adventures of Spin & Marty (DVD). Walt Disney Productions.
  9. ""Cort" (April 29, 1962)". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
  10. Byrge, Duane (28 Dec 2012). "Western Character Actor Harry Carey Jr. Dies". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
  11. "The Whales of August". IMDb. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
  12. "Harry Carey, Jr. Biography - American Actor". Eklusif Theme. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
  13. "Trader Horn". Classic Movie Hub. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
  14. "John Ford's Last Project, 'Comanche Stallion' Finally to Roll!". Henry's Western Round-up. 18 Nov 2013. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
  15. Vitello, Paul (1 Jan 2013). "Harry Carey Jr., Sidekick to John Wayne, Dies at 91". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
  16. Carter, Sandi. "Westwood Memorial Park".
  17. "Hollywood Star Walk: Harry Carey Jr". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
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