Former Playmate Ola Ray Is Getting Much Better Exposure as Michael Jackson's Thriller Girl
When Michael Jackson took Ola Ray in his arms and said, "I was wondering if you would be my girl," she knew it was only a line from a script. But since that script was for the hot video Thriller, Ola's life may change almost as much as if Jackson had spoken those words for real. Ray, 23, landed the role after Thriller director John Landis saw her in a 1983 film, 10 to Midnight. She worried that Jackson would object to the fact that she had posed nude in Playboy. But Michael simply settled for Landis' assurance that Ola was "a nice girl." Ray launched her career at 15 in a nightclub song-and-dance revue in Japan, where her stepfather was in the military. Arriving in L.A. in 1979 hoping to become a model, she found her 5'5" frame didn't measure up and turned to Playboy for exposure. That led to bit parts in films like 48 Hrs and Night Shift. Since Thriller first aired last December, Ray has shot several national commercials, including spots for Coca-Cola and Le Tigre sportswear, and she is busy reading for film, television and more commercial roles. Now sharing a Hollywood apartment with her poodle, Pepe, Ray is full of ambition. She describes her perfect man as "someone as successful in his own right as I am."