Ray launched her lawsuit back in May 2009, after years of letting it be known she was not sufficiently compensated for her work on the famous video. At first, Ray blamed Jackson himself, but then apologized to the pop star in 1997. A month after the lawsuit began, 50-year-old Jackson passed away, but Ray continued her action against the singer’s estate.
In August 2012, the estate revealed that an “amicable” settlement had been achieved, but details of the deal had remained under wraps until now.
Despite the legal battle, Ola Ray always seemed to recall her involvement with “Thriller” fondly. Speaking to Britain’s Sunday Mirror newspaper in 2008, the actress, model, and former Playboy Playmate recalls:
“Everyone thinks I made millions. But I don’t care. I wouldn’t change a thing.”
John Landis, director of “Thriller”, also filed a lawsuit against Jackson’s estate over profits made from the video, with both Landis and producer George Folsey Jr. claiming they were owed $2.3 million.
In the 1983 video, Ola Ray plays Michael Jackson’s unnamed girlfriend. After leaving a horror movie date with Jackson early, the singer catches Ray up on the street outside and begins teasing her with the verses of “Thriller”. The pair pass a graveyard, where the undead proceed to rise out of their graves and corner Jackson and Ray. Michael suddenly becomes a zombie himself, before leading an elaborate song and dance number.
Watch Ola Ray earning her $75,000 crust in the video for “Thriller” below: