In a career spanning 38 years, American actor Harry Carey developed a resume featuring no fewer than 267 acting credits.
Born in The Bronx, New York on 16 Jan. 1878, Carey was the son of prominent lawyer and judge of the New York Supreme Court Henry DeWitt Carey and Ella J. Ludlum. Carey, growing up on City Island, Bronx, attended Hamilton Military Academy, then studied law at New York University.
Before becoming an actor, Carey was a cowboy, railway superintendent, author, lawyer and playwright.
Not long after a boating accident led Carey to catching pneumonia, he spent his recuperation time writing the play “Montana.” In a tour of the country, Carey could be seen performing the play.
While his freshman play is considered a success, the same cannot be said for his second play. Saying that it failed would be a bit of an understatement. He lost everything.
In 1911, after a close friend, Henry B. Wathall, introduced Carey to director D. W. Griffith, a film career was launched.
In addition to playing the President of the Senate in the 1939 Frank Capra directed dramedy “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” a role the actor was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, Carney is one of only a few actors to successfully make the transition from the silent movie era to the talkies.
While the “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” character Carey is credited to have played is the President of the Senate, another title character would have been known as is the Vice President of the United States.
Even though Carey had made his first film appearance in 1908, it was after he signed with Griffith that the New York born actor’s film career really took off.
Carey is best remembered as one of the first major stars of the Western film genre.
From the 1916 Jacques Jaccard directed “A Knight of the Range” to the 1936 Harry L. Fraser directed “Aces Wild,” Carey played Cheyenne Harry Morgan for two decades. Also part of the Cheyenne Harry Morgan franchise, Carey stared in the 1918 John Ford directed “Straight Shooting.”
“Straight Shooting” was Ford’s directorial debut.
Carey returned to the theatre in 1940 when he made his Broadway stage debut in the Albert Bein / Lehman Engel written musical “Heavenly Express.” This was one of John Garfield’s early productions.
Carey died in Brentwood, Los Angeles, California on 21 Sept. 1947 from a combination of lung cancer, emphysema and coronary thrombosis. He was 69-years-old.
The Faces of Harry Carey
In addition to Carey, other entertainment professionals born on this day include:
For a more comprehensive list of entertainment professionals born on the 16 January, click the provided link.