Carey, Harry, 1878-1947

Alternative names
Birth 1878-01-16
Death 1947-09-21

Biographical notes:

Harry Carey Sr. (1878-1947) was an actor recognized for his roles in Western films in the 1920s and 1930s.

Harry Carey was born 16 January 1878 in the Bronx, New York. He studied law at New York University before his studies were interrupted by a severe case of pneumonia that resulted from a boating accident in 1899. For three years, Carey made quite a bit of money touring the provinces with "Montana," a play he wrote in 1906 about the Western frontier. Carey was wiped out financially when his second play wasn't successful, but he did marry the play's female lead, Fern Foster. Carey continued his involvement with acting and began appearing in films for director D. W. Griffith, most memorably in "The Musketeers of Pig Alley" in 1913. Carey would eventually appear in almost 250 motion pictures and become a big star in silent Westerns. It was at Universal that Harry Carey became a silent film cowboy star in a series of two-reel Westerns. In 1920 Carey married Olive Fuller Golden, his co-star. In 1921 they had a son, Harry Carey Jr., who would also become an actor in John Ford's company. In 1924 they had a daughter, Ella Carey. Throughout the 1920s, Carey was a Western superstar who occasionally assumed screenwriting, producing and directing assignments, as he had in the early days at Universal. Carey played the lead role in M.G.M.'s epic "Trader Horn" in 1931, which would become Carey’s most financially successful and most well-known role. Carey appeared in Motion Picture Herald's ranking of the top 10 of cowboy box office stars of 1937 and 1938. Carey received an Academy Award nomination for his performance as the Vice President in the Frank Capra classic "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" in 1939. Along with his close relationship with John Ford, Carey also developed a strong friendship with the young John Wayne, who he co-stared with on "Red River" in 1946. Harry Carey died on 21 September 1947 of emphysema, lung cancer and coronary thrombosis. Carey also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame posthumously.

From the guide to the Harry Carey papers, circa 1900-1975, (L. Tom Perry Special Collections)


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