Harry Carey Jr.

Harry Carey Jr.


Also Known As
Harry Carey, Henry G. Carey
Birth Place
Saugus, California, USA
May 16, 1921
December 27, 2012
Cause of Death
Natural Causes


The son of silent film cowboy Harry Carey, Harry Carey Jr. relied on the horsemanship his father had taught him to win roles for John Ford, Raoul Walsh and Howard Hawks. Graced with a slight, boyish physique, Carey was often cast as decent but doomed frontiersmen. Gunned down by Robert Mitchum in "Pursued" (1947), trampled by cattle in "Red River" (1948), and slaughtered by Comanche mara...

Family & Companions

Marilyn Fix
Married on August 12, 1944; daughter of actor Paul Fix.


"Company of Heroes: My Life as an Actor in the John Ford Stock Company"
Harry Carey Jr (1999)


The son of silent film cowboy Harry Carey, Harry Carey Jr. relied on the horsemanship his father had taught him to win roles for John Ford, Raoul Walsh and Howard Hawks. Graced with a slight, boyish physique, Carey was often cast as decent but doomed frontiersmen. Gunned down by Robert Mitchum in "Pursued" (1947), trampled by cattle in "Red River" (1948), and slaughtered by Comanche marauders in "The Searchers" (1948), Carey plied his trade without ego. With Ford as his mentor, he found a Dutch uncle in Ford's frequent leading man John Wayne, who brokered Carey's first shot at a co-starring credit in "3 Godfathers" (1948) - a remake of one of his father's silent films - and included him in his later vehicles "Island in the Sky" (1953), "The Undefeated" (1969), and "Cahill U.S. Marshall" (1973). With the death of Ford in 1973 and of Wayne in 1979, the aging Carey became a touchstone for Baby Boom filmmakers and he contributed nostalgic cameos to Joe Dante's "Gremlins" (1984), Robert Zemeckis' "Back to the Future Part III" (1990) and George Pan Cosmatos' "Tombstone" (1994). Slowing but rarely stopping, Carey retired from acting in his seventies to focus his energies a writer-producer, focusing on the careers of the Hollywood giants on whose shoulders he had enjoyed the ride of his life.

Harry Carey, Jr. was born Henry G. Carey on May 16, 1921 on his father's 1,000 acre ranch near Saugus, CA. A popular star of silent Westerns and a frequent collaborator with director John Ford, Harry Carey, Sr. passed onto his son a love of horsemanship - so much so that Carey, Jr. was an accomplished rider while still a child. Due to the red hue of his hair, Carey's father called him Dobe, short for adobe, after the red clay used in the construction of his birthplace. Relocated with his family to Los Angeles' affluent Brentwood community when he was nine years old, Carey often rode horse over the Hollywood Hills to visit family friend Will Rogers, a humorist and star of stage and screen. In spite of his love for the outdoors, Carey's true passion was classical singing and he traveled to New York City upon his graduation from the Black Foxe Military Academy to study voice. He made his professional debut, albeit as a horseman, during the 1939 World's Fair and in 1941 he took a job as an NBC page. During World War II, Carey served in the United States Navy and married Marilyn Fix, daughter of character actor Paul Fix.

Carey's ability with horses won him a bit part in the independent Western "Rolling Home" (1946). Tenth billed as a rodeo rider, Carey honored his ailing father by taking the professional name Harry Carey, Jr. Graced with a slight build and an angelic face, Carey often played earnest but inexperienced and often doomed westerners. He beat out two dozen actors for a part in Raoul Walsh's Western noir "Pursued" (1947), starring Robert Mitchum. Gunned down by Mitchum in the film, Carey developed a long-lasting friendship with the iconoclastic leading man. Though they shared no scenes, Carey appeared with his father in Howard Hawks' "Red River" (1948), star John Wayne had idolized the elder Carey and was influential in assuring future film roles for his son. With Wayne's ascendency to Hollywood's A-list, Carey was tapped to be a stock player in John Ford's film company, beginning with a co-starring role in "3 Godfathers" (1948). Ford's Technicolor take on the oft-told Western tale of an outlaw trio who come into possession of an orphaned baby was dedicated to Carey, Sr., who had starred in a silent version in 1919 and succumbed to lung cancer in 1947.

Ford made room for Carey in "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" (1949) and "Rio Grande" (1950) starring Wayne, and in "Wagon Master" (1950), opposite Ben Johnson. He played cavalrymen in assorted oaters for such directors as John Farrow, Allan Dwan and Byron Haskin and appeared unbilled in "Cattle Drive" (1951) and two films with Marilyn Monroe, "Monkey Business" (1952), and "Niagara" (1953). A falling out between Carey and his mentor kept the actor out of John Ford's repertory for five years but the two were reconciled for the West Point drama "The Long Gray Line" (1955) and "The Searchers" (1956), in which Carey was seen as a Texas homesteader who meets death at the hands of the Comanche marauders who murdered his fiancée. He was invited by Ford to join the ensemble cast of the navy comedy "Mr. Roberts" (1955), but the project was finished by Mervyn LeRoy.

On the small screen, Carey was youth counselor Bill Burnett in "The Adventures of Spin and Marty," a six-part serial broadcast on "The Mickey Mouse Club" (ABC, 1955-59), and contributed guest roles to episodes of "The Lone Ranger" (ABC, 1949-1957), "The Rifleman" (ABC, 1958-1963) and "Rawhide" (CBS, 1959-1965). Carey appeared in a small, uncredited role in "Cheyenne Autumn" (1964), John Ford's final film. In the schlock classic "Billy the Kid vs. Dracula" (1966), he was a rancher whose spread becomes vampire king John Carradine's happy hunting ground. With the retirement of his mentor Ford, Carey was welcomed into John Wayne's stock company and appeared opposite the Duke in "The Undefeated" (1969), "Big Jake" (1971) and "Cahill, U.S. Marshall" (1973). Following Wayne's death in 1979, the fiftyish Carey found himself regarded as the last of a dying breed of Hollywood Western stars and was given nostalgic cameos in such films as Peter Bogdanovich's "Nickelodeon" (1976) and "Mask" (1985), Walter Hill's "The Long Riders" (1980), and Robert Zemeckis' "Back to the Future Part III" (1990).

Atypical supporting roles followed in Joe Dante's horror comedy "Gremlins" (1984), Lindsay Anderson's lyrical seaside drama "The Whales of August" (1989), and William Peter Blatty's "The Exorcist III" (1990), though Carey's scene as a Catholic priest beheaded by a demonic serial killer was deleted for the film's American release. Sailing well past retirement age, Carey contributed further bits to George Pan Cosmatos' "Tombstone" (1993) and Michael Cimino's "The Sunchaser" (1996), which marked his final feature film appearance. Retiring from acting, Carey remained active as a writer-producer while making frequent appearances on the nostalgia circuit. His memoirs, Company of Heroes: My Life as an Actor in the John Ford Stock Company were published in 1994. Awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to the television industry, Carey was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame in 2003. In 2009, he wrote and produced the documentary "Trader Horn: The Journey Back," in remembrance of one of his father's greatest cinematic achievements. The veteran actor passed away on Dec. 27, 2012 at age 91.

By Richard Harland Smith



Cast (Feature Film)

Howard Hawks: American Artist (1997)
Last Stand at Saber River (1997)
Ben Johnson: Third Cowboy On the Right (1996)
The Sunchaser (1996)
Tombstone (1993)
Back To The Future (Part 3) (1990)
The Exorcist III (1989)
Breaking In (1989)
Bad Jim (1989)
Auntie Sue (1989)
Once Upon a Texas Train (1988)
Illegally Yours (1988)
Cherry 2000 (1988)
The Whales of August (1987)
Crossroads (1986)
Mask (1985)
Gremlins (1984)
Mr. Anderson
Endangered Species (1982)
The Shadow Riders (1982)
The Long Riders (1980)
Kate Bliss and the Ticker Tape Kid (1978)
Nickelodeon (1976)
Take a Hard Ride (1975)
Cahill, U.S. Marshal (1973)
something big (1971)
Joe Pickens
One More Train to Rob (1971)
Big Jake (1971)
Pop Dawson
Man Of The East (1971)
The Moonshine War (1970)
Dirty Dingus Magee (1970)
The Undefeated (1969)
Death of a Gunfighter (1969)
Reverend Rork
The Ballad of Josie (1968)
The Devil's Brigade (1968)
Captain Rose
Bandolero! (1968)
Cort Hayjack
The Way West (1967)
Billy the Kid vs. Dracula (1966)
Alvarez Kelly (1966)
Corporal Peterson
The Rare Breed (1966)
Editor Mabry
Cyborg 2087 (1966)
Jay C.
Shenandoah (1965)
Taggart (1964)
Lieutenant Hudson
Cheyenne Autumn (1964)
Trooper Smith
The Raiders (1964)
A Public Affair (1962)
Bill Martin
The Great Impostor (1961)
Dr. Joseph C. Mornay
Two Rode Together (1961)
Jackson Clay
Noose for a Gunman (1960)
Jim Ferguson
Rio Bravo (1959)
Escort West (1959)
From Hell to Texas (1958)
The River's Edge (1957)
Kiss Them for Me (1957)
Chuck Roundtree
The Searchers (1956)
Brad Jorgensen
7th Cavalry (1956)
Corporal Morrison
Gun the Man Down (1956)
Deputy Lee
The Great Locomotive Chase (1956)
William Bensinger
The Long Gray Line (1955)
Dwight D. Eisenhower
House of Bamboo (1955)
Mister Roberts (1955)
Silver Lode (1954)
The Outcast (1954)
Beneath the 12-Mile Reef (1953)
Griff Rhys
San Antone (1953)
Island in the Sky (1953)
Sweethearts on Parade (1953)
Jim Riley
Niagara (1953)
Cab driver
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
Monkey Business (1952)
Warpath (1951)
Capt. Gregson
The Wild Blue Yonder (1951)
Sgt. Shaker Schuker
Cattle Drive (1951)
Train passenger
Rio Grande (1950)
Trooper Daniel "Sandy" Boone
Copper Canyon (1950)
Lt. Ord
Wagon Master (1950)
Sandy [Owens]
3 Godfathers (1949)
William Kearny, "The Abiline Kid"
She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949)
Lt. Ross Pennell
Blood on the Moon (1948)
Red River (1948)
Dan Latimer
Moonrise (1948)
Jimmy Biff
Pursued (1947)
Rolling Home (1946)

Special Thanks (Feature Film)

The Hi-Lo Country (1998)
Special Thanks To
Wind (1992)

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

Ben Johnson: Third Cowboy On the Right (1996)

Cast (Special)

G.I. Joe: The Ernie Pyle Story (1998)
Legends of the American West (1992)
John Wayne Standing Tall (1989)

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

Wild Times (1980)

Life Events


Made stage debut appearing with father Harry Carey in Lakewood summer repertory company in Skowhegan, ME


After serving in U.S. Navy (1942-45), signed long-term contract with John Ford


Made film acting debut in Western "Rolling Home"


First film with John Wayne, "Red River"; directed by Howard Hawks


First directed by John Ford in "3 Godfathers," also starring Wayne


Re-teamed with director Ford and co-star Wayne in "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon"


Learned to stand simultaneously on two galloping horses - a trick called "roman riding" - for romantic Western "Rio Grande"


Appeared in Hawks directed "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," starring Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe


Played ranch counselor Bill Burnett on Disney serial "The Adventures of Spin and Marty"


Appeared on CBS Western series "Have Gun - Will Travel"


Made recurring guest appearances on "Wagon Train" (NBC, ABC)


Appeared on several episodes of NBC's "Bonanza"


Received star on Hollywood Walk of Fame


Played an aging biker in "Mask," starring Cher


Made cameo in Robert Zemeckis' "Back to the Future Part III" in a saloon scene


Cast as Marshal Fred White in "Tombstone"


Wrote about his experiences working with John Ford in <i>Company of Heroes: My Life as an Actor in the John Ford Stock Company</i>


Cast in TNT's Western drama "Last Stand at Saber River"


Featured in documentary "Dobe and a Company of Heroes"


Made executive producing and writing debut with Western "Horse Tales"


Wrote and produced documentary about his father "Trader Horn: The Journey Back"

Photo Collections

3 Godfathers - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for 3 Godfathers (1949), starring John Wayne. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.


Movie Clip

3 Godfathers (1948) -- (Movie Clip) Opening, Dedication Opening sequence to John Ford's 3 Godfathers, 1949, starring John Wayne, Pedro Armendariz and Harry Carey Jr., with a famous dedication to Ford's friend Harry Carey.
3 Godfathers (1948) -- (Movie Clip) By The Way Of New Jerusalem We’ve just met Hightower, Fuerte and Kearny (John Wayne, Pedro Armendariz, Harry Carey Jr.) and heard of their plan to rob the bank in an Arizona town, and they ride in for a funny (if grossly sexist) visit with Ward Bond and Mae Marsh as the Sweets, early in John Ford’s sentimental re-make, 3 Godfathers, 1948.
3 Godfathers (1948) -- (Movie Clip) Robert William Pedro Highest John Ford sentiment as Hightower (John Wayne), Pedro (Pedro Armendariz) and Kearney (Harry Carey Jr.) receive the dying wishes of "The Mother" (Mildred Natwick) in 3 Godfathers, 1949.
Wagon Master (1950) -- (Movie Clip) They Was Invited Out The Mormon wagon train led by Elder Wiggs (Ward Bond) finds common cause with the members of a bereft medicine show (Joanne Dru, Alan Mowbray, Ruth Clifford), Travis (Ben Johnson) and Sister Ledyard (Jane Darwell) adding opinions, in John Ford's Wagon Master, 1950.
She Wore A Yellow Ribbon (1949) -- (Movie Clip) Opening, Prologue Rousing title sequence and unusually detailed prologue from She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, 1949, the second and only color entry in John Ford's legendary "Cavalry Trilogy," with Ben Johnson as the ubiquitous Trooper Tyree.
She Wore A Yellow Ribbon (1949) -- (Movie Clip) Picknicking? Lt. Pennell (Harry Carey Jr.) and Miss Dandridge (Joanne Dru) are thwarted in their picnic plans first by Lt. Cohill (John Agar) then by Captain Brittles (John Wayne) in a famous scene from John Ford's She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, 1949.
Red River (1948) -- (Movie Clip) Red Shoes Dunson (John Wayne) and Matt (Montgomery Clift) visiting cowhand Dan (Harry Carey Jr., also singing) as the crew (Walter Brennan, Noah Beery Jr. et al) worry about spooking the herd, in Howard Hawks' Red River, 1948.
3 Godfathers (1948) -- (Movie Clip) Mojave Tanks The fugitive bank robbers (John Wayne, Pedro Armendariz and Harry Carey Jr.) discover they've arrived just late at the water tanks, behind Ward Bond's posse, in John Ford's 3 Godfathers, 1949.
Red River (1948) -- (Movie Clip) No Quitting Along The Way Dunson (John Wayne) with his famous pep talk before the Chisolm Trail cattle drive, Matt (Montgomery Clift) supporting and a special check-in with Dan Latimer (Harry Carey Jr.), from Howard Hawks' Red River, 1948.
Wagon Master (1950) -- (Movie Clip) Gentle Horses Mostly whittling, Elder Wiggs (Ward Bond) has just introduced himself to Travis (Ben Johnson) and Sandy (Harry Carey Jr.), themselves just arrived in Crystal City to sell horses, early in John Ford's Wagon Master, 1950.
Wagon Master (1950) -- (Movie Clip) Give The Lord A Hand Horse traders Travis (Ben Johnson) and Sandy (Harry Carey Jr.) watch the Mormons leave town, and reconsider their job offer, joining Elder Wiggs (Ward Bond), as The Sons Of The Pioneers sing, in John Ford's Wagon Master, 1950.
Wagon Master (1950) -- (Movie Clip) Ghostly Wagons Director John Ford's opening, unusual for both dramatic and idyllic qualities, from Wagon Master, 1950, starring Ben Johnson, Harry Carey Jr., Ward Bond and Joanne Dru.


Red River - (Re-issue Trailer) A young cowhand rebels against his rancher stepfather during a perilous cattle drive in Red River (1948), directed by Howard Hawks and starring John Wayne, Montgomery Clift and Joanne Dru.
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes - (Original Trailer) Gentlemen prefer Marilyn Monroe preferring diamonds in her most famous musical Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) directed by Howard Hawks.
Devil's Brigade, The - (Original Trailer) Experienced Canadian soldiers and misfit Americans join to beat the Nazis in The Devil's Brigade (1968).
Kiss Them For Me - (Original Trailer) Three navy war heroes are booked on a morale-building "vacation" in San Francisco and plan to throw a wild party in Kiss Them For Me (1957) starring Cary Grant and Jayne Mansfield. Directed by Stanley Donen.
Searchers, The - (Original Trailer) An Indian-hating Civil War veteran tracks down the tribe that slaughtered his family and kidnapped his niece in director John Ford's masterpiece, The Searchers, starring John Wayne, Jeffrey Hunter and Natalie Wood.
Cahill, United States Marshal - (Original Trailer) John Wayne stars as a tough lawman who has to bring in his own sons for train robbery in Cahill, U.S. Marshall (1973).
Alvarez Kelly - (Original Trailer) A suave Mexican cattleman (William Holden) inadvertently gets involved in the Civil War in Alvarez Kelly (1966) co-starring Richard Widmark.
Rare Breed, The - (Original Trailer) In this Western with breeding, James Stewart and Maureen O'Hara fight to take a rare English bull to Texas in The Rare Breed (1966).
Rio Bravo - (Original Trailer) A sheriff (John Wayne) enlists a drunk (Dean Martin), a kid (Ricky Nelson) and an old man (Walter Brennan) to help him fight off a ruthless cattle baron in Rio Bravo (1959), directed by Howard Hawks.
Cheyenne Autumn - (Original Trailer) A reluctant calvary Captain must track a defiant tribe of migrating Cheyennes in Cheyenne Autumn (1964).
Blood on the Moon - (Original Trailer) A gunslinger hired to drive off a rancher falls in love with the man's daughter in Blood on the Moon (1949), directed by Robert Wise and starring Robert Mitchum, Barbara Bel Geddes and Robert Preston.
Shenandoah - (Original Trailer) James Stewart is a Virginia farmer who refuses to take sides in the Civil War even as it rages around him in Shenandoah (1965).


Harry Carey
Actor. Born on January 16, 1878; died on September 21, 1947.
Olive Fuller Gordon
Ellen Carey
Steven Carey
Melinda Carey
Born in December 1946.
Thomas Carey
Born in April 1951.
Patricia Carey
Born in February 1953.


Marilyn Fix
Married on August 12, 1944; daughter of actor Paul Fix.


"Company of Heroes: My Life as an Actor in the John Ford Stock Company"
Harry Carey Jr (1999)