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For the Record: The Marriages of Actor Harry Carey Sr.


Biographies of movie star and Saugus rancher Harry Carey are often wrong about his marriages (even some on SCVHistory.com). The actual facts are found in the public record and in contemporary news reports about the information in the public record.

The short story is that Harry Carey was married three times — or more particularly, four times to three different women. His first wife was Clara Enola Clarkson, whom he married in 1901. His second wife was actress Fern Foster, whom he married in 1916 after being paired with her on stage and screen during his marriage to Clara. His third wife, with whom he would remain, was actress Olive Fuller Golden. Harry and Olive married privately in 1919 or early 1920 in Arizona. It wasn't legal; Harry's divorce from Fern was not yet final. Harry and Olive married "for real" in San Francisco in March 1921. Olive gave Harry a son, Harry Carey Jr. (Dobe), in May 1921 and a daughter, Ella (Cappy), in 1923. The kids grew up in Saugus and attended Newhall School.

When he married Fern Foster in 1916, Harry was living in Hollywood. That same year, he purchased the ranch in the San Francisquito Canyon section of Saugus that would later become the Tesoro del Valle housing development. While Harry lived there with Olive, it was listed as community property in the divorce proceedings brought by Fern.



NYC Marriage Record. Click to enlarge.

Harry Carey was born Henry DeWitt Carey II in the Bronx section of New York on Jan. 16, 1878.

According to the New York City Marriage Records Index, on June 26, 1901, he married his first wife, Clara Enola Clarkson. The 1910 U.S. Census shows the couple living in the Bronx with Harry's mother, Ella, and his mother's older sister, Julia Purdy.

From 1910 U.S. Census, Bronx Assembly District 32, New York City. Click to enlarge. [See Full Census Page]



Marriage License, 1916 (to Fern Foster). Click to enlarge.

An Orange County (Calif.) marriage license shows Carey entering into his second marriage Nov. 8, 1916. His new bride was Alma Fern Foster, a 31-year-old actress known as Fern Foster, who was born in Somerville, Mass., on Oct. 2, 1885, and who was living at 454 Figueroa St. in Los Angeles. Carey, who identified himself as divorced at the time of their marriage, was living at 1218 Hayvenhurst Drive in Hollywood.

The couple was married at the First Christian Church in Santa Ana, in a ceremony performed by Rev. Paul E. Wright. The sole identified witness was Edward Scott Brook of Hollywood.

According to published biographies, Fern Foster co-starred with Harry in the play, "Two Women and that Man," which opened at the Majestic Theatre on Broadway on Oct. 18, 1909 — while Carey was still married to Clara. Harry and Fern would appear together in films in the early 1910s.

Harry and Fern. Click to enlarge. Fern Foster. Click to enlarge.



Harry's draft card, Sept. 12, 1918. Click to enlarge.

Carey registered for Selective Service in Santa Ana on Sept. 12, 1918. (It appears he was exempt.) Carey lists Fern Foster Carey as his wife but indicates separate addresses.

Carey shows his "permanent home address" as Newhall, Los Angeles County, Calif.; for Fern, he gives an address of 1824 Highland Ave., Hollywood. (The latter address would become an apartment building in 1920.)


Olive Fuller Golden (b. Jan. 31, 1896, in New York City) is reported in April 1919 to be Harry Carey's manager.

Olive's last film appearance had come in 1916; she wouldn't return to the screen herself until 1931 for "Trader Horn."


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A Woman Manages Him.

Harry Carey, Universal's film star, has a woman for a business manager.

And Carey, six feet tall, a daredevil in the saddle, a former amateur champion boxer, one of the best all-around athletes in filmdom — a man's man from the tip of his sombrero to the clanking spurs on his boots — admits that she is "some manager."

Olive Fuller Golden, blonde haired, and a little more than five feet tall, is the professional boss of the six foot hero of Universal's Western thrillers.

Miss Golden knows every angle of the motion picture business. She was born and reared in an atmosphere of theatricals. Her father, the late George Fuller Golden, was one of the greatest monologists this country has known. Both the stage and screen know Miss Golden as a player. For several years she was Harry Carey's leading woman, but she gave up her promising career as an actress to look after the star's business affairs.

Miss Golden arranged all the details of Carey's 5,000-mile personal appearance tour which he is now making as far East as Chicago. She prepared the script for the special one reel feature which will be shown at the various theaters on tour under her personal supervision.


As reported in the press, Fern Foster files for divorce in July 1919, claiming Harry was spending time with Olive Fuller Golden on his ranch near Los Angeles.


Click to enlarge.

Movie Romance That Isn't On the Screen.

Los Angeles, Cal., July 16. — (Special.) — Harry Carey, fascinating cowboy idol of the screen, has been made the defendant in divorce proceedings brought by his wife, Alma Fern Carey, in which Miss Olive Fuller Golden, movie beauty, is named, according to information which spread in the local studios.

Saugus, close to Los Angeles, is mentioned in the complaint as the place where Carey and the winsome co-respondent have been living. Harry L. Dunnigan, attorney for the cowboy actor, said: "There is really no ill will between Mr. Carey and his wife, but of course, the use of Miss Golden's name in such a connection is most unpleasant."

Mr. and Mrs. Carey have not lived together for many months. Temporary and permanent support as well as costs of the suit and attorney's fees are asked by the wife. Carey is alleged to have taken Miss Golden on trips.

More like this:  [Chicago Daily Tribune]  [Santa Ana Register]


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Film Star Will Fight Wife's Suit.

The romance that brings a halo about motion picture heroes doesn't appeal one bit to Mrs. Harry Carey, wife of the cowboy celluloid thespian, who has begun suit for divorce, temporary and permanent support, costs of her suit and attorney's fees. The wife, Alma Fern Carey, names Olive Fuller Golden, cinema artist, as co-respondent, according to motion picture people in the bay cities, claiming that the defendant and his alleged companion are living together at Saugus, Southern California.

That Carey will fight the suit and enter a general denial was hinted at by Harry L. Dunnigan, the star's attorney. He has until Saturday to answer the complaint. Dunnigan said that the defendant and the plaintiff had not lived together for some time. Mrs. Carey admits that she has been receiving $50 weekly from the movie star, but considers that sum insufficient to her needs. She alleges that Carey earns $300 weekly.

Attorney Rex Hardy, acting for the plaintiff, points out a restraining clause, which requests prevention of a disposal or encumbrance of community property. Bank account, a ranch house, an automobile and Liberty and Victory loan bonds are mentioned as common property.


The divorce of Harry Carey and Fern Foster becomes final Jan. 2, 1920.


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Film Actor's Wife Gets Divorce.

Los Angeles, Cal., Jan. 3. — (U.P.) — Alma Fern Carey was granted a divorce late yesterday from Harry Carey, film actor, after she had presented testimony that Carey spent much time at his ranch near here with another woman.

(Fern remarried and died June 10, 1949, in her original hometown.)


While Harry was still legally married to Fern, he married Olive privately in Arizona in 1919 or early 1920. It's little wonder Fern grew suspicious; Harry and Olive went on a publicity tour as man and wife in 1919.


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[Brief.]

Harry Carey, Universal star in western pictures, denied it a year ago when Mrs. Carey brought suit for divorce and alimony and named Olive Fuller Golden as having usurped her place in the actor's affections. Mr. Carey said that their relations were purely platonic and professional. However, Mrs. Carey got her divorce and the case was forgotten about for a time. The other day it leaked out in Hollywood that the star and Miss Golden had been married for some time.


The 1920 U.S. Census, reporting the "place of abode" as of Jan. 1, shows Harry, 40, and "wife" Olive, 23, residing on the ranch in San Francisquito Canyon, along with four hired men (three American, one Chinese). The information would have been self-reported to the census taker.

From 1910 U.S. Census, Saugus Precinct, Soledad Township. Click to enlarge. [See Full Census Page]


Harry made his marriage to Olive legal in San Francisco in March 1921. Harry and Olive Carey remained together until Harry's death in 1947. Olive died in 1988 in Carpinteria at age 92.


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Harry Carey, Movie Star, Weds Third Time

Henry DeWitt Carey, known to the theatrical world as Harry Carey, and Miss Olive Golden Fuller, 1729 Winona boulevard, Los Angeles, were married yesterday afternoon by Justice of the Peace A.T. Barnett. They came from Los Angeles yesterday to attend the Moving Picture Actorsí Ball and Carey was scheduled to appear at a local playhouse, where one of his pictures is being shown. Carey is 43 years old, divorced, and it is his third marriage. His bride is 25 years old. It is her first marriage.


HARRY CAREY SR.

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Fan Reply Card <1928

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Marriages

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Harry & Olive 1919


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Overland Red 1920

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Seventh Bandit 1926

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Satan Town 1926

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Burning Bridges 1928

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Pinback: The Vanishing Legion 1931

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Last of the Clintons 1935

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With U.S. VP John Garner 1940

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Hollywood Walk of Fame

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