Does anyone recognize the name Ola Ray? No? Okay, cool, so it wasn’t just me. Who could blame us though, right? The actress hasn’t been heard from much since around 2009 when she tried suing Michael Jackson for royalties from the music video she starred in with the pop idol. Which music video and what lead to all of this though, you’ll have to read to find out!
Ola was born in St. Louis, Missouri in late August of 1960, she would have a very quiet childhood. By quiet, I mostly mean ‘not a whole lot of verifiable information on the internet to make a truthful comment about it’, but sometimes you just gotta shrug and say you tried.
Hefner? I barely know her!
MOVING ON! Ola Ray took a quick trip up the modeling ladder after high school, eventually landing a spot as the Playboy Playmate of the Month in June of 1980, not that that was ever a good thing with everything we know now about the “honor”. Either way, it would lead to a step into acting for Ola, who would start in commercials and music videos before moving into film with a debut role as, drumroll…. Hooker Number One!
She would continue with bit roles in movies and television for a few years, even starring in the Eddie Murphy/Nick Nolte comedy 48 Hrs. before landing the role that brought all of us to this page, the unnamed girlfriend in Michael Jackson’s music video for Thriller. It would be what should have been a massive step for the actress, and she did try to make it into one, but unfortunately just couldn’t back it up.
Look, the Thriller video is camp as hell, but so was most of what Michael Jackson did on the music video and performance front so the bad acting could have been excused as intentional. It wasn’t though and that somehow makes it better. Not for Ola Ray, but for all of us who have lived through Halloween in America post-1983. The actress would also claim to have a steamy on-set relationship with Michael Jackson himself, which, honestly girl you think you’re the first? Get in line.
Either way that was the height of Ola’s career in Hollywood. She would return for roles alongside Eddie Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop 2 playing a Playboy Playmate, which I guess you could call method acting. Despite hitting the great highs of a Michael Jackson video, Ola Ray would fizzle out by 1987 with a terrible movie about The Night Stalker murders and an episode of Cheers being among the last credits to her name for the next thirty years.
She kept modeling, not quite giving up on things but choosing to pivot around to what she was good at. She also got some extensive surgery throughout the time and coasted off her fame as the girlfriend from Thriller. Somewhere along the line in 1995, she gave birth to a daughter, who she lives with currently in California.
Talk About Bad Timing
Ola came after Michael Jackson in 2009, popping up and filing a lawsuit against the King of Pop for apparent unpaid royalties from the music video throughout the years. I would say the background dancers should be better paid first but that’s just me. Either way, the case went into litigation as Jackson was preparing for his This Is It tour, and we all know how that ended.
As happens when the defendant in a case dies suddenly from an overdose, the lawsuit ground to a halt pretty damn quickly. I guess Jackson was dying to get that over with, huh? (Rimshot). Ola meanwhile would move into a brief role as a police officer in the Lady Gaga video for Paparazzi that same year. Today’s fun fact in Gaga history is the boyfriend in that video being played by a young Alexander Skarsgard. The more you know.
Ola disappeared for another decade, retreating to heal from the decimation of Jackson’s ultimate defense move before reappearing in, of all things, a Splatterhouse film called It Wants Blood in 2019. The whole thing was a fever dream, with everyone from Ola Ray to Lita of WWE fame making appearances throughout the blood-soaked fun.
It would be a surprisingly fun role for a comeback but unfortunately only lead to, and bear with me here, a vigilante crime drama called Shooting Heroin.
This film is about a small town forming a militia to fight local drug dealers and I can’t even begin to discuss how hilariously unintentional that title probably was. Either way, it was a bust, and not like the “DEA open up” kind either.
What is Ola Ray Doing Now?
Ola these days is reportedly focused on a singing career since 2013, though her only song being uploaded to Spotify around that time is a promising sign that she’s given that one up.
There are no less than five DJ callouts in the first minute of the song, which is all intro before the barely mixed and very… not well-recorded Michael Jackson-inspired vocals kick in.
I’m honestly amazed the DJ put their audio mark on this so many times throughout the song because… damn. Oh my god, I’m listening as I write this and she straight up namedrops him, the entire beat changes and she goes into a confession about their time on Thriller.
This is beautiful. Five minutes were well spent. Take care, everyone, there’s nothing more you need to know here.