Trejo Law Corporation, a Beverly Hills based law firm, which specializes in entertainment law currently revealed their representation of Ola Ray and the interesting details of the case. Ola Ray, the woman who appeared alongside Michael Jackson in the world famous Thriller music video is preparing to head to trial with the Jackson estate for breach of contract. Since co-starring alongside Michael Jackson in the most revered music video of all time nearly 30 years ago, the former Playboy Playmate has endured an uphill battle to collect unpaid royalties over the past decades.
Ray, 51, was just 23-years-old when she appeared alongside Jackson in Thriller and frightened children worldwide with her piercing scream. Since its release in 1983, the video has enjoyed countless airings and financial success that has far exceeded any video in music history. The short film has even garnered federal recognition, having been inducted for preservation in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. Ray’s original employment contract for Thriller entitles her to a specified percentage of all revenue derived from the video and related merchandise; however, Ray claims the Jackson estate has not paid her regular royalties since the 1980s.
Despite her ongoing litigation battles with the Jackson estate, Ray has never held any ill feelings towards the King of Pop personally.
“I have always loved Michael Jackson and thank him for the opportunity of a lifetime to be part of such an iconic piece of music history,” states Ray. “Michael would always re-release Thriller in different packages so that I would get my royalties. He really did his personal best to help me while he was alive. Unfortunately, the people handling his estate have not been acting according to his wishes.”
Ray was a huge fan of MJ prior to landing the role in Thriller. As a June 1980 Playmate, she listed Jackson as one of her favorite entertainers. Understandably, Ray was on cloud nine when she beat hundreds for the opportunity to star alongside her idol. She claims to have nothing but fond memories and admiration for the late pop star.
“Michael was one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met,” recalls Ray. “I remember we would run around the set and play around like kids. When he passed away, I was devastated.”
In the digital age, primarily since Jackson’s passing in 2009, the pop star’s estate has profited greatly from the exploitation of Thriller. For example, the video has been one of the best-selling music videos in iTunes history. Ray continues to be adamant that she has not received money from any revenue related to Thriller since 1999.
“Ms. Ray simply wants the Jackson’s estate to honor the terms of her employment agreement so that she may move on with her life,” asserts Jose A. Trejo of Trejo Law Corporation, the attorney representing Ray in the current matter. “The estate cannot continue to exploit Thriller and neglect to pay Ms. Ray the royalties to which she is contractually entitled.”
After enduring decades of legal struggles for unpaid royalties with the Jackson estate, Ray is optimistic that the ordeal is nearing an end.
“I am very thankful that Michael cast me as his girlfriend in Thriller and I cherish the memories. I just want what’s owed to me. I am looking forward to having my day in court and putting this matter behind me very soon.”
Trejo Law Corporation specializes in entertainment law, business law, bankruptcy and foreclosure. Trejo Law Corporation offers free initial consultation, unparalleled customer service, and exceptional legal service.
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