Maureen O'Hara

Filmography

1938      

Kicking the Moon Around

My Irish Molly

 

1939      

Jamaica Inn

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

1940      

A Bill of Divorcement

Dance, Girl, Dance

 

1941      

They Met in Argentina

How Green Was My Valley

 

1942      

To the Shores of Tripoli

Ten Gentlemen from West Point

The Black Swan

 

1943      

Immortal Sergeant

This Land Is Mine

The Fallen Sparrow

 

1944      

Buffalo Bill

 

1945      

The Spanish Main

 

1946      

Sentimental Journey

Do You Love Me

 

1947      

Sinbad the Sailor

The Homestretch

Miracle on 34th Street

The Foxes of Harrow

 

1948      

Sitting Pretty

 

1949      

A Woman’s Secret

The Forbidden Street

Father Was a Fullback

Bagdad

 

1950      

Comanche Territory

Rio Grande

Tripoli

 

1951      

Flame of Araby

 

1952      

At Sword’s Point

Kangaroo

The Quiet Man

Against All Flags

 

1953      

The Redhead from Wyoming

War Arrow

 

1954      

Malaga

 

1955      

The Long Gray Line

The Magnificent Matador

Lady Godiva of Coventry

 

1956      

Lisbon

Everything But the Truth

 

1957      

The Wings of Eagles

 

1959      

Our Man in Havana

 

 

1961      

The Deadly Companions

The Parent Trap

 

1962      

Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation

 

1963      

Spencer’s Mountain

McLintock!

 

1965      

The Battle of the Villa Fiorita

 

1966      

The Rare Breed

 

1970      

How Do I Love Thee?

 

1971      

Big Jake

 

1991      

Only the Lonely

 

1994      

A Century of Cinema

Awards

She received an honorary Academy Award in 2015.

I made John Wayne sexy. I take credit for that. ~ Maureen O’Hara

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Actress, Biographies

Born Maureen FitzSimons, on August 17, 1920, in Ranelagh, Ireland. The second oldest of six children, Maureen was raised in a close-knit Irish Catholic family. Her father, Charles, was a businessman, and her mother, Marguerite, was an accomplished stage actress and opera singer. Maureen displayed a penchant for dramatics at an early age when she staged presentations for her family; in school she was active in singing and dancing.

 

While still in her early teens, Maureen enrolled at Dublin’s prestigious Abbey Theatre School, where she studied drama and music. Upon her graduation in 1937, she was offered a lead role with the Abbey Players, but instead she decided to try her hand at film acting. She then moved to London, where she screen tested for an English feature. Although the film was never produced, her impressive audition caught the attention of Oscar-winning movie star and producer Charles Laughton. After convincing Maureen to change her surname to O’Hara, Laughton helped launch Maureen’s career by recommending her for the role of the orphaned Mary Yelland in Alfred Hitchcock’s British-made film Jamaica Inn (1939). Although the film met with lackluster reviews, O’Hara was noted for her convincing performance.

 

Under the tutelage of Laughton, O’Hara signed a contract with RKO Studios in 1939. She moved to Hollywood in the summer of that year, making her American film debut as the alluring gypsy Esmeralda (opposite Laughton’s Quasimodo) in RKO’s lavish production The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

In 1941, O’Hara gave a haunting performance as the daughter of a Welsh mining family in the drama How Green Was My Valley, which marked her first collaboration with legendary director John Ford. The film triumphed at the Oscars, winning top honors in five categories, including Best Picture and Best Director.

While fulfilling contract commitments with both RKO Studios and 20th Century-Fox, O’Hara was billed alongside Hollywood’s leading men in a slew of swashbuckling features. Among the most notable were 1942’s The Black Swan, with Tyrone Power, 1947’s Sinbad the Sailor with Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., and 1949’s Bagdad with Vincent Price. In between action films, O’Hara was assigned a role in the 1947 holiday classic Miracle on 34th Street, in which she played a single working mother whose strong rational beliefs are challenged by Santa Claus.

During the 1940s and 1950s, O’Hara was repeatedly cast as the heroine in elaborate Technicolor features. Her strong-willed characters, which were complimented by her fiery red hair, and green eyes, earned her the nickname “Queen of Technicolor.” O’Hara gave saucy performances in adventures like Buffalo Bill (1944), The Spanish Main (1945), The Flame of Araby (1951), and The Redhead From Wyoming (1952).

In 1950, O’Hara entered a new phase of her career when she was cast as John Wayne’s estranged wife in John Ford’s romantic Western Rio Grande. O’Hara shared great screen chemistry with Wayne and served as his leading lady in a succession of films over the next few years. Also under Ford’s direction, Wayne and O’Hara starred in the lyrical drama The Quiet Man (1952) and in the critically panned The Wings of Eagles (1957).

In the early 1960s, O’Hara shifted her career focus. She showcased her attractive singing voice in a series of television appearances, record albums, and the Broadway musical Christine (1960). Later that year, she was featured opposite Alec Guinness in the offbeat film adaptation of Graham Greene’s novel Our Man In Havana. A number of lighter roles in family comedies followed, including the 1961 Hayley Mills vehicle The Parent Trap, 1962’s Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation, with James Stewart, and 1970’s How Do I Love Thee?, with Jackie Gleason.

O’Hara reunited with long-time friend and costar John Wayne in the comedies McLintock! (1963) and Big Jake (1971). Shortly after, O’Hara retired to St. Croix, Virgin Islands with her third husband, aviator Charles F. Blair, whom she married in 1968. Upon Blair’s death in 1978, O’Hara briefly assumed her late husband’s position as president of Antilles Airboats , a Caribbean commuter airline. She also wrote a general interest column for the tourist magazine The Virgin Insider.

Following a 20-year hiatus, O’Hara returned to film acting with a role in the bittersweet comedy Only the Lonely (1991). For the remainder of the 1990s, she landed parts in a string of television movies, including The Christmas Box (1995) and Cab to Canada (1998). She starred as a retired high school teacher in the TV movie The Last Dance (2000).

In 2015 O’Hara received an honorary Academy Award for her seven-decade career of onscreen roles that “glowed with passion, warmth and strength.”

O’Hara was briefly married to George Hanley Brown in 1938 (their marriage was annulled in 1941). Later that year, she wed director William Price. The couple had a daughter, Bronwyn Price, before they divorced in 1953. O’Hara’s third marriage to aviator Charles F. Blair ended tragically when Blair died in a plane crash on September 2, 1978. Blair held the notable distinction of being the first pilot to make a solo flight over the Arctic Ocean and the North Pole.

On October 24, 2015, O’Hara died in her sleep in her Boise, Idaho home at the age of 95. 

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