Harry Carey Jr., an actor who made his mark as a boyish sidekick to John Wayne in John Ford westerns like “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon” (1949), “Wagon Master” (1950) and “The Searchers” (1956), and later became one of the most ubiquitous character actors in American television and movie westerns, died on Thursday in Santa Barbara, Calif. He was 91.
His family told Reuters he died of natural causes in a hospice.
Mr. Carey was one of the last surviving members of a group known informally in Hollywood as the John Ford stock company, actors cast by that director in many of his best-known films. Besides Wayne, they included stars like Ward Bond, Henry Fonda and Victor McLaglen and dozens of lesser-knowns like Mr. Carey whose faces became as essential to the foreground of Ford’s westerns as buttes and mesas were to the background.
A gangly, red-haired man who often wore the front brim of his cowboy hats turned up to keep them from overwhelming his delicate face, Mr. Carey was never a leading man. But he brought an aura of earnest decency to the cavalry officers, cattle rustlers and assorted second fiddles he portrayed.
He appeared in nearly 100 movies in his 50-year career, including nonwesterns and many films by directors other than Ford. Howard Hawks cast him in his first role, in “Red River” (1948), as well as in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” with Marilyn Monroe (1953). On television Mr. Carey made scores of appearances in long-running western series like “Bonanza” and “Have Gun Will Travel”
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