Harry Carey was an American actor and one of silent film’s earliest superstars.
Carey was born Henry DeWitt Carey II in The Bronx, New York, a son of Henry DeWitt Carey, a prominent lawyer and judge of the New York Supreme Court, and his wife Ella J. Ludlum. He grew up on City Island, Bronx.
Carey was a cowboy, railway superintendent, author, lawyer and playwright. He attended Hamilton Military Academy, then studied law at New York University. When a boating accident led to pneumonia, he wrote a play while recuperating and toured the country performing in it for three years. His play was very successful, but Carey lost it all when his next play was a failure. In 1911, his friend Henry B. Walthall introduced him to director D.W. Griffith, with whom Carey would make many films.
Although Carey, one of Hollywood’s finest character actors of the sound era, received an Oscar nomination for his role as the President of the Senate in the 1939 film, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, he is best remembered as one of the first stars of the Western film genre. One of his most popular roles was as the good-hearted outlaw Cheyenne Harry, in movie serials directed by John Ford. The Cheyenne Harry franchise spanned three decades, starting with A Knight of the Range through Aces Wild .