THE LAST COWBOY: HARRY CAREY, JR.

Blogs
by Peter Bogdanovich
January 13, 2013 3:33 PM
5 Comments
  • |

This short tribute was written for the programme for the Harry Carey, Jr. Memorial, held Saturday, January 12th,  in Santa Barbara, California.

Harry Carey, Jr.—Dobe to his friends and family—was the son of one of  the very first great Western stars, and now he has become the last of the cowboys from the Golden Age. Introduced to pictures by John Ford, who had been championed as a director by father Harry Carey before they did about 25 pictures together, the son soon became an attractive and charming Western star himself in such Ford classics as Three Godfathers, She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, Wagon Master, Rio Grande, and The Searchers. He also made a remarkable impression in Howard Hawks’ first Western classic, Red River. And he has written with grace, humor and perception of his days on the Ford pictures in a loving memoir appropriately titled Company of Heroes.  He is now the last of that valiant company to “go West,” as Jack Ford used to put it.

I was privileged to know Dobe (nicknamed short for adobe because of his red hair) for nearly half a century, since we met on the set of Ford’s Cheyenne Autumn in Monument Valley in 1963. I was even more privileged to have Dobe in the cast of two pictures I directed, Nickelodeon in 1976, and Mask in 1985; he was terrific in each of these, and a joy to have around, a solid professional, but also a brilliantly deadpan, hilarious raconteur of the days of the giants in pictures. We also shot an amusing interview with Dobe in 2006 for my documentary, Directed by John Ford, and three years later we got together again and recorded a commentary track for the DVD release of Wagon Master; it was a wonderful time, seeing and hearing Dobe reacting to the movie—among his biggest roles too--as he watched it, and often very funny.

Yet that’s always what he was like, funny and human, and gentle too. There just wasn’t a mean bone in his body.  We spoke on the phone a few times, but the Wagon Master recording, I’m sorry to say, was the last time I saw Dobe. He was always encouraging, and eternally upbeat, with a boyish innocence to the end. He was one of a kind, and will always be missed as a loyal friend and collaborator.

Adios, Dobe, though I know your spirit will never die.

You might also like:
Free Indie Movies and Documentaries    

5 Comments

  • Daniel Sterling Sample | March 24, 2013 6:33 AMReply

    The Duke and Dobe, a foto to remember.....Now, we've just lost Dale Robertson. I bump into Clu Gulager (82) in Hollywood, now and again. Still looks and sounds like himself with a ready smile for everyone he meets....

  • JJ | January 19, 2013 10:42 AMReply

    Rest in peace, Mr. Carey.

  • Melinda Carey | January 17, 2013 4:56 PMReply

    Thank you again Peter for this wonderful tribute - it was really appreciated by the whole Carey clan and the friends who came to the memorial. The day went off without a hitch and got rave reviews. Daddy would have loved it. Melinda

  • Rick B | January 14, 2013 3:45 PMReply

    A very nice tribute to a very enduring actor and, from all accounts, an all-round good man. Upon hearing of Mr. Carey's death, I pulled out my well-worn copy of his book "Company of Heroes" and re-read it.

    Mr. Carey had a warmth and wit that are severly lacking in many of today's actors. I'm glad that I grew up in an era where I got to enjoy his gifts to western fans.

  • Guillermo Jacubowicz | January 13, 2013 7:53 PMReply

    Dear Mr. Bogdanovich: very nice and noble tribute to such a fine actor, but correct me if I'm wrong, he was also in another movie you directed, in addition to those two you are mentioning: "Illegaly Yours" (one of my favorites in your filmography, by the way).
    All the best,
    Guillermo Jacubowicz

Follow Me

Latest Tweets

Follow us

Popular Posts

  • 'They Rode with the Duke'