Back to prior page

(Courtesy of Donn & Nancy Moyer)

Above - early 1980s photo of Sunset Carson.
Clearing up the confusion ... or adding to it

Confused about Sunset Carson's real life and background?

Following are a variety of tidbits and assorted dates - some of which is contradictory - which I've assembled from various sources including family members of Sunset, Bill Thomas (former Sunset manager), Boyd Magers, Jerry Whittington, several obituaries, the Social Security Death Index, and more. Additionally, Charles E. Powell is second cousin to Sunset and provided some genealogy info on Sunset and the Harrison family.

In more recent time, I've received more info from Sunset's family.

Note that some items below include a ?, so read that information as unconfirmed or questionable.

I'll update this page as new facts and rumors becomes available.

Sunset - family info, marriages and scuttlebutt (last updated: November, 2014)
No birth certificate on Sunset. The following info is from the family Bible and Sunset Carson family members:
Born: November 12, 1920 in Gracemont (Caddo County), Oklahoma
Name: Winifred Maurice Harrison
Father: Maurice Greely Harrison (born February, 1898 in Gumlog, Georgia)
Mother: Azalee Belle 'Dot' McAdams Harrison (born in Granger, Texas in 1899)

From Sunset's Social Security application dated June 30, 1937:

Name: Mickey Harrison
Birth date and location: November 12, 1918, Plainview, Texas
Parents: Maurice G. Harrison and Azalee B. McAdams
Signature: Mickey Harrison

Death Cerificate for Sunset shows:

Died: May 1, 1990 in Reno, Washoe county, Nevada
Birthdate: November 12, 1926
Birth location: Texas
Spouse: Jeane Jackson

Sunset's one brother and three sisters:

Azalee (born 1927)
Peggy (born 1934) (see comments below from Peggy)
Chloie (born 1939)
Herman D. Harrison (born 1923) is Dale Carson (photo and info below). Sunset introduced Dale as his younger brother and/or his twin brother; appeared in several of Sunset's later Walt Mattox/Astor films as 'Dale Harrison' and 'Dale Carson'.

(In an earlier version of this webpage, I had 'Alese' with a question mark. The correct spelling is Elise and she is not Sunset's sister. Elise is Chloie's daughter.)

Sunset's 1st wife: Patricia Eleanor Hussey (born in Canada)

Married: August 22, 1938 in Yuma (Yuma), Arizona
Marriage License: Yuma, Arizona; E. M. Winn, officiating; used names of Winifred Maurice Harrison of San Jacinto, California and Patricia E. Hussey of Oakland, California
Children: Ann Caleen Harrison, born March 29, 1940, Vallejo, California

Sunset's 2nd wife: Betty Jo Price:

Children: Michael
(More info on Betty Jo Price and Michael below.)

Sunset's 3rd wife: Dorothy Shockley

Married: sometime in the early 1950s

Question: I have several newspaper articles about Sunset's touring and performances in the mid 1950s. One article mentions his helper as 'Dottie Mae'. Is 'Dottie Mae' really Dorothy Shockley ... or another person?

Sunset's 4th wife: Margaret J. Nesbitt:

Married: August 15, 1969
A daughter was born while Sunset was in Australia with Wirth Circus circa 1970; and there was a son from her prior marriage?

Sunset's 5th wife: Jean J. Davis had the Nevada marriage index record of the June 17, 1989 marriage of Mickey Harrison to Jean J. Davis.
Tidbits/comments/e-mails (oldest is at the top of this list):

Sunset's birth year has been reported in various publications and biographies - as well as in statements from Sunset - as: 1918, 1920, 1922, 1924, 1926, 1927.

E-mail from Sue Parrish: "My mother went to school with him - but not at Plainview, Texas. It was at Earth-Springlake, Texas."

E-mail from Jerry Whittington: "Sunset's driver's license showed his birthplace as Plainview, Texas and birthdate as November 12, 1927."

E-mail from Boyd Magers: "This comes from Bill Thomas of Florida who was Sunset's manager for a while. Sunset lived with him for 6 months. I've acquired some of Sunset's personal belongings from Bill and a raft of rare family photos. Sunset was born in 1924! Father was Maurice Harrison. Mother's name forgotten by Bill. Sunset's younger sister is Alese who is now (or at least was) a doctor in San Francisco. Sunset's younger brother was Dale Harrison and was in a couple of the Walt Mattox pics (SUNSET CARSON RIDES AGAIN and FIGHTING MUSTANG). Last known to be selling heavy equipment in Texas. Sunset had two kids, born to he and wife Margaret (reportedly a "little bitty thing") ... names forgotten ... while Sunset was in Australia with Wirth Circus. This would be around 1970. Boy reportedly still in Australia. Daughter unknown wheraeabouts."

In November, 2003, I received several e-mails from 'Mimi' Combs and her son-in-law Tom Sutherland, and have summarized their info as follows: Betty Jo Price and Sunset Carson had a son named Michael. After she and Sunset divorced, Betty married Mimi's brother, Dr. Edward Johnson who was a Harvard Medical School Graduate and an Orthopedic surgeon in Atlanta, Georgia for many years. Ed passed away in 2002. Betty died in 1993. Ed adopted Mike and raised him as his son. He was only 4 years old when Ed married Betty. Michael James Johnson was killed in a tractor accident on his farm in Autauga County, Alabama on November 16, 2003. He was 55 years old.

The Family Search website has the 1930 census on the Maurice G. Harrison family who were residing in Precinct 4, Hale, Texas. Winifred is listed as 9 years old, and that seems to confirm his November, 1920 birth date. Go to:

In October, 2004, Bob Blevens e-mailed with information he found in the 1930 Federal census. Note there is no twin brother named Dale and the family resided in Hale County, Texas (Plainview, Texas is the County Seat of Hale County).

  • Texas, Hale County, Justice Precinct 4, Enumeration District 95-13, Sheet Number 8-A, Enumeration Date 18 Apr 1930, response status as of 1 Apr 1930 (Census Day).
  • Lines 45-49, Dwelling 155, Family 160.
  • Harrison, Maurice G., Head, home owned, farm, male, white, age 32, married, age 21 first marriage, did not attend school after 1 Sep 1929, can read and write, born GA, parents born GA, can speak English, Farmer, general farming industry, owner, employed, non-veteran.
  • Harrison, Azalee, wife, female, white, age 31, married, age 20 first marriage, did not attend school, can read and write, born TX, parents born TX, can speak English.
  • Harrison, Winifred, son, male, white, age 9, single, attended school, born OK, parents born TX.
  • Harrison, Herman D., son, male, white, age 6, single, attended school, born OK, parents born TX.
  • Harrison, Azalee G., daughter, female, white, age 2-2/12, single, did not attend school, born OK, parents born TX (the 2-2/12 for Azalee's age is two years and two months).

In early 2005, Bruce Remick e-mailed with some additional info and comments: "... I noticed a question about the identity of Sunset Carson's brother, Dale. From the 1930 Census, it seems likely that in the family of Maurice and Azalee Harrison, son Herman D. Harrison, 6, was in fact Winifred's brother 'Dale' (Herman Dale Harrison) who apparently went by Dale rather than Herman. FYI, according to Census records, Sunset Carson's father, Maurice G. Harrison, appears in Gum Log, Union County, GA in the 1900 census in the family of John C. and Cara E. Harrison. Maurice was 2 years old (Feb 1898). John Harrison eventually moved to Caddo County, Oklahoma."

In July, 2005, received confirmation from Charles E. Powell on the full name of Sunset's brother Herman D. Harrison: Herman Dale Harrison, male, born 12 Oct 1923, Gracemont, Caddo County, Oklahoma.

In August, 2005, received several e-mails from Peggy (Sunset's sister) and following is a summary from those messages: Chloie Harrison was born in May, 1939. Dale was not his twin. He was born in 1923 and Sunset in 1920. We just (on August 6, 2005) had a Sunset Carson day in Olton, Texas where the family moved when Sunset was 9 years old. There is a small museum there in his honor. My parents both went to school and mother was a teacher for a time. The doctor you mention is my sister Chloie's daughter Elise. You have all the birth dates correct. His dad was Maurice Greely Harrison, born February, 1898 in Gumlog, Georgia. His mother was Azalee (Dot) McAdams born in Granger, Texas in 1899.

In June, 2009, Vicki Chastain (second cousin to Sunset) e-mailed. She double-checked some info with Sunset's sister Peggy. Confirmed that Dale was his brother and not a twin. And we corrected the question relating to 'Alese' being Sunset's sister. The correct spelling is Elise and she is Chloie's daughter.

A variety of newspapers carried info on Sunset who passed away on May 1, 1990 at the Washoe Medical Center, Reno, Nevada:

"Sunset Carson, 63, a 1940s cowboy movie hero, died Tuesday (May 1, 1990) in Reno, Nev., one day after winning a settlement in a three-year-old suit over money earned from some of his old pictures. He was 63. Mr. Carson apparently suffered a heart attack in his hotel room in Reno."

"Sunset Carson, 63, an actor who starred in low-budget Western films, died on May 1, 1990 of an apparent heart attack."

"Sunset Carson, a 1940s cowboy movie hero, died one day after winning a settlement in a three-year-old lawsuit over money earned from some of his old pictures. Carson, 63, died Tuesday at Washoe Medical Center after apparently suffering a heart attack in his room at the Ponderosa Hotel."

Jim Tipton's Find A Grave website has a photo of the grave marker for Sunset Carson who is interrred at Highland Memorial Gardens, Madison County, Tennessee:

(Courtesy of Jerry Whittington)

Above is Sunset Carson and his brother Dale Carson (Herman Dale Harrison). Some have commented that Dale was Sunset's twin brother. Enlargement below. He appeared in several of Sunset's later Walt Mattox/Astor films as 'Dale Harrison' and 'Dale Carson'.

(Courtesy of Larry Blanks)

From L-to-R are Larry Blanks having dinner with Sunset Carson and his wife Jeannie Carson at the Lone Star Cafe in Fayetteville, Georgia in 1990. Less than two weeks after this photo was taken, Sunset Carson passed away.

(Courtesy of Eddie Moore)

Above - Sunset with son Michael at an unidentified film festival. Looks like actress Susan Oliver in the middle.

Back to prior page