Richest CelebritiesActors
Net Worth:
$500 Thousand
Date of Birth:
Aug 26, 1960 (63 years old)
Place of Birth:
St. Louis
5 ft 1 in (1.57 m)
Model, Actor
United States of America
💰 Compare Ola Ray's Net Worth

What is Ola Ray's Net Worth?

Ola Ray is an American model and actress who has a net worth of $500 thousand. Ola Ray is best known for her role as Michael Jackson's girl in the 1983 music video film, "Thriller." Outside of Thriller, Ola modeled for Playboy and was chosen as the Playmate of the Month in the June 1980 issue.

Ray's debut acting role came in the 1981 film "Body and Soul." In 1982 she starred in the movies "Night Shift" and "48 Hrs."

In 1983 she starred in Thriller and the movies "10 to Midnight" and "The Man Who Loved Women." She also starred in the 1984 film "Fear City" and the 1987 movies "The Night Stalker" and "Beverly Hills Cop II." Ola appeared in episodes of the TV series "Automan," "Gimme a Break!," "Cheers," and "What's Happening Now!." She also starred in George Benson's 1980 music video "Give Me the Night".

Thriller Royalties

In later years Ola complained about not collecting royalties from Thriller. In May 2009 she actually sued Michael Jackson seeking a settlement and cut of future royalties. Jackson passed away the next month. His estate settled the lawsuit in 2012 with a payment of $75,000.

Ola Ray Net Worth

(Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

Early Life

Ray was born on August 26, 1960 in St. Louis, Missouri. She grew up with her six brothers and two sisters in St. Louis before her parents decided to move to Sacramento, California. The family lived there until 1975 when then moved to Tokyo, Japan following the divorce of her parents. Her mother remarried a man who was stationed at the Yokota Air Force Base in Japan and the family remained there for three years.

Early Career

While in Tokyo, Ray formed a song and dance group with two of her brothers and one sister called The Puppets. The group became quite popular in Japan and the landed a year-long performing contract at the Big Together Club in the Shinjuku District in Tokyo. The Puppets became increasingly popular in Japan, performing in cities throughout the country and appearing in television commercials. They were also offered a recording deal from CBS Records in Tokyo.

While performing with The Puppets, Ray also began modeling. She signed with Eddie Arab Modeling Agency and booked a number of jobs during the three years in which she lived in Japan. She appeared on the cover of several magazines and as a poster girl, in addition to appearing in commercials for Japanese department stores like Isetan, Matsuya, and Parco.


In 1978, after three years in Japan, Ray and her family moved back to the United States. Ray decided to move to Los Angeles in order to continue pursuing her career in modeling and entertainment. She booked a few minor jobs here and there but became much more popular after booking a modeling job with "Playboy" in 1980. She was the Playmate of the Month for the June 1980 issue.

Her work with "Playboy" helped jumpstart Ray's career in the United States. She landed a contract with Johnson and Johnson to promote their Classy Curly products, which involved appearing in commercials and magazine advertisements for the product. In addition, she also appeared in advertisements for Coca Cola, Coors, McDonalds, and Leggs pantyhose, among other products.

Additionally, she appeared in the 1980 music video for the song "Give Me the Night" by George Benson. She also booked film roles in "Body and Soul" in 1981 and "Night Shift" and "48 Hrs." in 1982. In 1983, she appeared in the films "10 to Midnight" and "The Man Who Loved Women."


Her major role in 1983 was in the music video for the song "Thriller" by Michael Jackson. In the video, she appeared as Michael's girlfriend.

Appearing with Ray was the first time that Jackson had interacted with a women in a video. John Landis, the director of the video, encouraged Jackson to develop real chemistry with Ray, which subsequently came across in the resulting video.

Appearing in the video catapulted Ray to even greater fame, as it became one of the most popular music videos of all time and won the 1985 Grammy Award in the Best Video Album category, among other awards. However, in the following years, Ray complained that she was not receiving the royalties she had been promised from the video. She originally blamed Jackson for this but later apologized to him in 1997. The dispute was not settled though as Ray sued Jackson in May of 2009. Jackson died only two months later and Ray ended up settling with the Jackson estate in 2013 for a sum of $75,000.

After Thriller

Despite the troubles she would later face with Jackson over "Thriller," her appearance in the music video did help Ray's career. She landed a number of acting roles in more prominent films in the years that followed. In 1985, she appeared in "Fear City." In 1987, she appeared both in "The Night Stalker" and "Beverly Hills Cop II," starring Eddie Murphy. She also made appearances in some television series like "Cheers" and "What's Happening Now!!"

Throughout the 1990s, Ray did not appear on screen in any roles. She resurfaced in 2000 after appearing in an episode of "Where Are They Now?" The show follows up with past celebrities who have disappeared from the spotlight in order to provide fans with an update on their current professional and personal status. The next year, she appeared in "I Love 1980's" as herself followed by an appearance in "Never Mind the Buzzcocks" in 2002.

She then took another extended break from the spotlight throughout much of the 2000s and 2010s. She appeared in two feature films in 2019 and 2020, "It Wants Blood!" and "Shooting Heroin," respectively.

Personal Life

In 1995, Ray gave birth to her only child, a daughter whom she named Iam. In June of 2022, Ray published a memoir entitled "The Thrill of It All," which describes her childhood and upbringing as well as how she handled being thrust suddenly into the spotlight after "Thriller."

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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