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Actress Olive Carey, 92; Film Family Matriarch

March 17, 1988|LOIS TIMNICK | Times Staff Writer

Film family matriarch Olive Carey, an actress in her own right whose credits spanned more than half a century and included many roles opposite her cowboy-star husband, the late Harry Carey, died Sunday after a short illness at her lemon ranch in Carpinteria. She was 92.

A popular leading lady in silent films, she made a successful transition to the talkies, and was best known for two movies she made with John Wayne in the late 1950s--"The Searchers," in which her son, Harry Jr., also played, and "The Alamo."

The daughter of one of the founders of the first actors union in the United States, the former Olive Fuller Golden came to California from New York in 1914. In Hollywood, she became an original stock player for D. W. Griffith--along with Mary Pickford, Lillian and Dorothy Gish, and Harry Carey, whom she married two years later.

She made dozens of films, starting with "The Sorrowful Shore."

It was "Ollie" Carey who introduced her future husband to John Ford, then only a prop man at Universal, indirectly paving the way for Ford's first directing job and his discovery of a young actor named John Wayne. The Carey, Ford and Wayne families became close, personally and professionally, making numerous Westerns together.

The Careys had two children, both of whom survive--Harry Jr. and Ellen (Cappy) Carey, six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Her brother, George Fuller Golden, also survives.

After her husband's death in 1947, Olive Carey resumed her career, this time as a character actress. She made a score of pictures--including "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral," "The Wings of Eagles," and "Two Rode Together," most of them in the 1950s.

"I don't know of a family that has contributed more to Hollywood," Paramount producer A. C. Lyles, a longtime friend, said of the Carey clan.

Memorial services will be private.

At the family's request, contributions may be sent to the Motion Picture and Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills.

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