Where is Ola Ray, the girl in Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' music video, now?

11 November 2020, 16:45

Ola Ray starred opposite Michael Jackson in the 'Thriller' music video
Ola Ray starred opposite Michael Jackson in the 'Thriller' music video. Picture: Epic/YouTube/Getty

By Tom Eames

Ola Ray will forever have a place in pop music history after her appearance in Michael Jackson's iconic music video for 'Thriller'.

Model Ola Ray was in her early 20s when she starred as Michael Jackson's girlfriend, but where is she now and did she earn any money from her role?

  1. Who is Ola Ray and how old is she?

    Ola Ray is a model and actress who is best known for playing Michael Jackson's girlfriend in the 'Thriller' music video.

    Before this, Ola was a model for Playboy, and was the Playmate of the Month for the June 1980 issue.

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    She was born on August 26, 1960 and celebrated her 60th birthday in 2020.

  2. What did she do after 'Thriller'?

    Ola Ray in 1983
    Ola Ray in 1983. Picture: Getty

    Ola had a few other film and TV roles in the 1980s, including minor parts in 48 Hrs, 10 to Midnight, Fear City and Beverly Hills Cop II.

  3. Was she friends with Michael Jackson?

    Ola Ray has often spoken of her brief time spent with Michael, and claims that they grew "very close" during their two weeks filming the famous music video.

    In her book, she also claimed that they had a passionate fling on set, but it didn't go any further than a couple of kisses.

    Ray told DailyMailTV: “Michael and I did get intimate on 'Thriller', yes. I went to his trailer one day and that's where I had my second kiss with him.

    Read more: Is this the greatest Michael Jackson impersonator in the world?

    “I kissed him for the first time on the set, I kissed him on the cheek, then he asked me to come into his dressing room one day and I went in there and we sat down and had a conversation and we got really close and that's when he kissed me the second time.

    “It was a very passionate kiss and, you know, we also did a little something else, but that's all I'm gonna say.”

    She also described Michael as a “sweet” and very nice person, as well as being a “gentle soul”.

    After shooting had finished, she saw the singer one more time at Westlake Studios, when Quincy Jones was producing his Bad album.

    Michael apparently told her he couldn’t continue their relationship, because of a promise he had made to a friend, who was interested in Ray.

  4. Did she sue Michael Jackson for royalties?

    Ola Ray said she received an initial payment of $2,500 (£1,900) for her role in the video, but didn’t get any further payments for at least two years, even though she had signed a contract.

    Ray sued Michael Jackson in May 2009 with the aim of obtaining uncollected royalties. However, Michael died less than two months later aged 50.

    It is reported that up until June 2010, the video earned $92,735,816 in digital video sales and $78.6m in DVD sales.

    She has said that her cut should be around $4.2m (£3.3m), but claimed she had been paid less than $200,000 (£157,000) in the 35 years since the video was released.

    In 2012, Ray was awarded $75,000 in back payments after a court battle with the Michael Jackson Family Trust, with $20,000 going to her legal team.

  5. Where is Ola Ray now?

    Now aged 60, Ola can be seen on her Instagram page, which she regularly updates with photos and tributes to Michael Jackson.