Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ Girlfriend Ola Ray Grateful For Opportunity
Michael Jackson, Ola Ray (photo: MCA/Universal / Courtesy: Everett Collection)
Ola Ray, the female lead in his iconic 1983 "Thriller" video, still can't forget the experience of working with him.
Ray -- now 51 and living in Sacramento, Calif., with her teenage daughter -- landed the gig after Flashdance actress Jennifer Beals turned it down. She almost didn't get it after video director John Landis learned she had posed in a 1980 Playboy centerfold. But Jackson didn't seem to mind her racy past. "He seemed taken by the fact that I was a Playboy model," Ray told the Sunday Mirror.
The 13-minute horror short -- which the Guinness Book of World Records calls the most successful music video of all time, selling more than 9 million copies -- depicts the two on a date. It takes a very dark turn when the singer transforms into a werewolf.
From day one, Ray said she and Jackson had chemistry.
Ola Ray on ABC News.
Jackson was playful off-camera as well.
"He kept saying, 'I can't wait until I do the werewolf scenes so I can chase you,'" she told author Mark Bego for his book On The Road With Michael.
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Though the two flirted and shared some private time in his trailer on the set, she said they were never intimate because Jackson had eyes for someone else.
Ola Ray in "Playboy."
She and Jackson remained friends after making the video. Jackson even flew her to Germany to accept an award for "Thriller" — which she later got to keep.