"Handsome Jack" grew up in Southern California, learning tap, jazz and swing at a young age, he went on to become a Theater, Television and Movie dance performer. Jack joined the Navy and became a cook, and on being honorably discharged, returned to dancing at Borston's, ... his favorite dance spot.
Nick Castle, (A famous dance & film choreographer) thought Jack to be the best swing dancer he ever saw and hired him to dance in the movie "Living It Up" (With Lorraine) starring Jerry Lewis which featured a legendary swing dance scene with many Top West Coast Swing /Jitterbug Dancers of the day. Jack Carey danced with his now ex-wife Lorraine Edwards and together won many dance contests in the Los Angeles area including the legendary Harvest Moon Ball dance championships in 1949.
Jack was a seasoned Tap and Jazz dancer and even danced in Vaudeville doing Tap and Jazz but he also excelled in Swing Dance. Carey was the best dancer on the competition circuit in his day beating many greats such as Dean Collins, Gil & Nicki Brady, Lenny Smith, Lou Southern etc.
Jack ran many Contests in the 1940's and 1950's in Southern California as well as the person responsible for the Legendary "Rag-Doll" nightclub weekly dances and contests held in North Hollywood, California in the 1950's and others. He was one of the few who helped promote Swing dance thru-out the 1960's and well into the 1970's disco era.
Jack has been featured in many magazines such as Life Magazine, (he is the one with the "droopy socks") as well as the Herald
Examiner newspaper (Now the L.A. Times.) Jack has performed with many stars of Stage and screen including: Nick Castle, Sammy Davis Jr. Elaine Verdugo, Bob Hope, Bennie Reuben, Jerry Lewis etc.
Carey is credited with inventing and coining the term "Jack and Jill" in the 1950's for a particular type of dance contest, where the dancer does not know in advance what the music will be or who the partner they will have. Carey's style is very smooth, clean, syncopated and fun. Jack Carey can be credited with advancing the slotted form of swing we call West Coast Swing. Wether you knew Jack or not and you dance WCS, you have been affected by Jack Carey as much of his dancing helped shape what you do today, especially the WCS Slot, which he helped create and nurture to what it is today.
Jack was the Chief Judge at the U.S. Open Swing Dance Championships (Carey started as Chief Judge with the original Jack Bridges Open at Disneyland, Ca.) and has been instrumental with keeping swing dance alive in the Los Angeles area along with his current partner in Life, Love and Swing ... the famous Annie Hirsch. Jack and Annie as they are commonly known got together in the early 1980's and you could tell it was gonna last. Jack loved Annie and Annie loved Jack and you could see it in their faces. Jack and Annie became very involved in all aspects of dance and not just the WCS World. They would be very pivotal in keeping swing dance on track and if you saw Jack and or Annie at an event, you knew it was gonna work. Jack brought an essence of the past and present with him wherever he went and you could see the connection, drive, feel and desire and love of the dance within his dance, especially with Annie. One of his favorite things to do was help younger dancers learn how to do a proper "Shorty George" and "Carey Kicks" in WCS.
Jack sadly passed away on September 24th, 2013 and will be missed by all who knew him.