Carey was born in Hackensack, New Jersey. Carey served in the United States Marine Corps and was wounded as part of the ship’s detachment of the USS Franklin during World War II and served again in the Korean War. One of his earliest roles was at Lt. (jg) Bob Perry in John Wayne’s Operation Pacific. Carey also made appearances in films such as I Was a Communist for the FBI (1951), This Woman Is Dangerous with Joan Crawford (1952), The Nebraskan (1953), Calamity Jane with Doris Day (1953), Pushover (1954), Mister Roberts (1955), The Long Gray Line (1955), Port Afrique with Pier Angeli (1956), and Monster (1979). Carey’s career started with ten characters in ten episodes of the Ford Theatre, a highly popular 1950s drama television series. He also narrated thirty-one episodes of the documentary Untamed World. He portrayed fictional detective Philip Marlowe in a 1959 ABC series of the same name, Philip Marlowe. He portrayed four different characters on as many episodes of ABC’s mystery series 77 Sunset Strip starring Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. He was among the guest stars in the CBS anthology series, GE True, hosted by Jack Webb.
In 1956, Carey starred on the NBC series Tales of the 77th Bengal Lancers. Carey’s character was portrayed as Canadian because Carey reportedly could not master a British accent. He played the character Simon Battle in The Rifleman. In 1961, he guest-starred in an episode of The Asphalt Jungle. In the episode “One Way Ticket” of the ABC/Warner Brothers western series, Cheyenne, Carey plays the outlaw Cole Younger who is being transported by railway to the penitentiary in Denver, Colorado. The Clint Walker character Cheyenne Bodie, in this episode a United States marshal, is assigned to guard Younger, but Bodie encounters one distraction after another, including friendship with a widow and her ten-year-old son played by Maureen Leeds and Ronnie Dapo, respectively. Twice Younger escapes, but he ultimately decides based on Bodie’s stern advice to accept prison with the hope of a later pardon. Younger in the episode says that Bodie is so convincing that he should have been a “politician or a preacher.”
From 1965 to 1967, Carey played Captain Edward Parmalee on the NBC western television series Laredo, set in Laredo, a South Texas city located on the Rio Grande. His co-stars included William Smith, Peter Brown and Neville Brand. After Laredo, Carey guest starred in an episode of ABC’s military-western Custer starring Wayne Maunder in the title role. Carey had played Custer himself in The Great Sioux Massacre (1965) and played Captain Myles Keogh at the Battle of the Little Big Horn in Walt Disney’s Tonka in 1959. In 1971, Carey guest-starred on the landmark fifth installment of All in the Family, playing Steve, an ex-professional football player friend of Archie Bunker’s who tells Archie he’s gay. The episode was entitled “Judging Books By Covers”. From 1979 until late 2007, he played the protective Texan patriarch Asa Buchanan on the ABC soap opera, One Life to Live. He also appeared in the low budget horror film Monstroid in 1980. Carey became well known for a series of tongue-in-cheek television commercials for Granny Goose potato chips, in which he self-identified as “Granny Goose”, portraying the company’s spokesperson as a tough cowboy. Carey was diagnosed with lung cancer in January 2006 and underwent chemotherapy.
In late March 2007, it was announced that Carey would be exiting One Life to Live. He had appeared in one episode in 2003 and one episode of All My Children in 2004. He appeared in an additional nine episodes of One Life to Live between January 3, 2007 and May 16, 2007. Carey turned down an offer to go to recurring status with the show (although he nevertheless did, in fact, make several appearances on the show after his official exit in late 2007, including several appearances in July 2008, with his final appearance having been on December 29, 2008). Carey was married twice; in 1949 to Maureen Peppler, with whom he had a son Jeff and two daughters, Linda and Lisa. At the time of his death, Carey had been married since 1974 to Colleen Welch, with whom he had a son, Sean and a daughter, Shannon. He was close friends with his on-screen sons, Clint Ritchie and Robert S. Woods. Carey died of lung cancer at the age of eighty-three, less than a week after the death of Clint Ritchie, who played Asa’s son Clint on One Life to Live from 1979 to 1998.
- July, 15, 1925
- Hackensack, New Jersey
- February, 06, 2009
- New York, New York
Cause of Death
- lung cancer
- Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills)
- Los Angeles, California