Harry Carey Jr., a character actor who made a name for himself as part of director John Ford’s classics The Searchers and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, passed away on Thursday of natural causes at a hospice center in Santa Barbara, Calif. He was 91 years old.
Born in 1921 to silent film stars Harry Carey Sr. (who spent the bulk of his career in Westerns as well) and Olive Carey, Harry Jr.’s career spanned five decades. Though he rarely took top billing in any of his pictures, his military background (he served in the Navy during World War II) and his horse-riding ability made him an ideal sidekick to friend and frequent co-star John Wayne. The pair appeared in over 10 films together, often with Ford at the helm.
Carey also appeared in films with his parents: One with his father (1948’s Red River) and two with his mother (1956’s The Searchers and 1961’s Two Rode Together).
Younger audiences will likely recognize Carey from his roles as Mr. Anderson in Gremlins, one of the saloon regulars in Back to the Future Part III, and as Marshal Fred White in Tombstone. Overall, Carey appeared in over 100 films and 100 TV episodes (including stops on Gunsmoke and Little House on the Prarie).
He is survived by his wife Marilyn Carey, whom he married in 1944, three children, three grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.