instagram.com/olamarieray  | youtube.com/Michael Jackson
Source: instagram.com/olamarieray | youtube.com/Michael Jackson

Remember MJ's Girlfriend in the 'Thriller' Video? Ola Ray Is 60 & Still Looks Stunning

Aby Rivas
Jul 20, 2021
05:03 P.M.
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Ola Ray, the lucky girl who got to play Michael Jackson’s girlfriend in the legendary “Thriller” music video, is now 60 and a mother of one. Time has done wonders for her appearance, although fans have noticed she looks way lighter these days.

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Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” went down in history as one of the most expensive music videos with a production budget of half a million dollars, and is also considered by many experts as the clip that marked the turning point in the music video making industry.

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Jackson contacted film director, John Landis, to film the project after watching his horror film, “An American Werewolf in London,” and together, they came up with the whole concept of the 14-minute-long short film.

When looking for the perfect girl to play Jackson’s girlfriend, the production first contacted Jennifer Beals, but she turned down the project.

THE LIFE-CHANGING ROLE

Then, Ola Ray came onto the scene. She was a die-hard fan that auditioned for the role without knowing it was for Jackson, and even though she did great, Ola almost lost the part after Landis found out she had posed for Playboy magazine before.

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But Jackson didn’t seem to mind her racy past, and they offered her the role. The pair were told to improvise in their scenes, as Landon suggested Jackson act “sexy” and show his “manly” side with Ray to appeal to his female admirers.

According to Ray, she and Jackson had developed a close bond between them. They kissed while shooting the music video and later shared an intimate moment inside Jackson's trailer. She told the DailyMail:

“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 that's when he kissed me the second time."

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Ola Ray attends Michael Jackson Scream Album Halloween Takeover at TCL Chinese 6 Theatres | Source: Getty Images

Ray described her kiss with Jackson as "passionate." She liked him because he was a "nice person" and a "gentle soul," but they couldn't continue their relationship because he had to keep his promise to a friend who was interested in Ray.

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Jackson was recording the zombie dance scene the night they met, and she had a front-row seat throughout the entire performance.

“I had a front-row seat that night to watch Michael and his dancers, and he kept telling them 'let's do it again, let's do it again.' He was meticulous and a perfectionist,” Ray told Manchester Evening News.

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LIFE POST-"THRILLER"

After the success of the music video, Ray and Jackson maintained a friendship. He even flew her to Germany to receive an award for “Thriller” in his name.

“He wanted to send someone else to come pick it up [from me], but I told him, 'No. If you don't come to pick it up yourself, then you're not going to get it,'" Ray told ABC News. “He didn't come to get it, so he called and told me it was mine. I could keep it."

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SHE SUED MICHAEL JACKSON

According to Ray, she only received the initial payment for playing her part in the music video and never received anything after that for two years. She then sued Jackson in 2009 to receive her share of royalties. 

Unfortunately, Jackson died within two months after she filed the lawsuit. Ray revealed that she was entitled to receive at least $4.2 million, but she got less than $200,000 since the video's release. 

Three years later, Ray got $75,000 from the Michael Jackson Family Trust after fighting her case in court, out of which her attorney received $20,000.

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Ola is now 60 and still reeling in the fame she got from the music video. She says people still recognize her on the street and ask for selfies, something that amazes her every time.

And while most fans are always praising the actress for aging beautifully, some have a few questions about the abrupt change in her complexion.

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LIGHTER COMPLEXION

Back when she did “Thriller,” Ola rocked her natural melanin-rich complexion. Her skin was caramel-like, and she was considered a black beauty. Nowadays, however, her skin looks way lighter than before.

And while the reason is not apparent, fans assume her skin color is now the result of bleaching treatments over the years.

Either way, Ray keeps working non-stop. She often attends conventions and she also wrote a book, “The Thrill Of It All,” which is a memoir. Ola has a 23-year-old daughter and lives in Los Angeles.

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WHERE IS SHE NOW?

Ola Ray can be seen posting videos and photos on Instagram. She often uploads pictures of moments that she shared with Jackson. 

Despite being 60 years old, Ray's looks are still on point. She rocks whatever she wears, be it a golden gown or knee-length boots. 

Apart from her iconic performance as Michael Jackson's girlfriend, she also got a few film and TV roles in "Fear City," "48 Hrs," "Beverly Hills Cop II," and "10 to Midnight."

The former Playboy model will celebrate her 61st birthday next month, and it looks like she's soon going to dress up in another sexy attire.

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