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Michael Jackson and Ola Ray on the street in Thriller
Here’s What Happened To The Girl From Michael Jackson’s Thriller Video
History - Science
Content Warning
This story contains discussions of domestic violence, substance abuse, sexual harassment, kidnapping, and suicide.
Dancing zombies, Michael Jackson’s dancing, the song itself, and Jackson’s date — Ola Ray — made 1983’s "Thriller" an iconic MTV music video, but Ray has had a troubled life since.
After Ray’s appearance in "Thriller," the June 1980 Playboy "Playmate of the Month" gained more work in movies and TV, including appearing in "Cheers" and "Beverly Hills Cop II."
Ray’s other on-screen credits include appearances in the 1984 TV shows "Automan" and "Gimme a Break!" as well as the 1984 movie "Fear City" and the 1986 film "The Night Stalker."
Ray told People Magazine in 2002 that her appearance in the "Thriller" music video led to her being sexually harassed in Hollywood, which she resisted, so she didn’t get cast much.
Ray said, "After 'Thriller' came along, I stopped working," adding that she refused to give "sexual favors." Ray then experienced substance use, domestic abuse, and depression.
Ray told DailyMailTV, "I couldn't pay my rent, I couldn’t pay my bills so I got really depressed. I decided to take a bottle of pills and try to commit suicide."
In 1992, Ray was arrested, charged with cocaine possession, then entered treatment in 1993. Ray was also kidnapped during this time for a few months before her captor let her out.
In 2009, Ray sued Jackson’s estate for unpaid royalties and she only got a $75,000 settlement. Ray maintains to this day that she is still owed millions from Jackson's estate.