Michele Carey didn’t have a ton of acting credits but she made the most of those she had.
She is mostly remembered from a handful of films made in 1960’s.
How to Stuff a Wild Bikini (1965) – One of the Annette Funicello beach films but without Frankie Avalon (except for a cameo appearance). Carey had a small role in what is her first film. She was mainly part of the beach scenery.
El Dorado (1967) – Carey plays Josephine “Joey” McDonald, who shots John Wayne, then saves his life at he end of the film. This film gave her the greatest exposure in large part because of the film’s initial success and its enduring life on cable and DVD. Joey was a role with a lot of sass with Casey riding horses, shooting guns and holding her own with Wayne, Robert Mitchum and James Caan. Other film and television roles emphasized her beauty and put her in fashionable wardrobes and stylish sets but this film was dusty and got straw in her hair.
Her role was quite a departure for a woman in a John Wayne film. Yes, there were strong women in his films but they were mostly wives, mothers or saloon girls. Maureen O’Hara, Elizabeth Allen and Vera Miles were strong leads and held their own with men in those films. Carey was one of the few pants-wearing female co-stars, and it was different from other women in El Dorado. The role should have opened more doors for Carey but sadly that didn’t happen.
Live a Little, Love a Little (1968) – Carey’s next big film role was a Bernice, the love interest of Elvis Presley, in one of his last films. Elvis’ films weren’t what they used to be and this one took a more adult direction although the end result didn’t stave off the decline of his film career. Carey, in a co-starring role turns in a fine performance in a slightly eccentric role.
After these films her film roles would be smaller and she would move mostly to television. She would retire completely from acting in 1988.
Born Michele Henson, she started as a model in Denver before moving to Los Angeles with her young son to become a actress.
Her first role was on television in “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” A few more television appearances followed and then her role in How to Stuff a Wild Bikini.
She stepped away from acting a long time ago so our memories are mostly of her in her 20’s, with that long, wild hair and those piercing eyes.
She passed away on November 21, 2018.