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Maureen O’Sullivan

Best known for playing Jane in the Tarzan series of films starring Johnny Weissmuller however she also had roles in The Thin Man, The Barretts of Wimpole Street and A Day at the Races.

Maureen O'Sullivan: Learn more about her, review her filmography and see the fan favorite films you can stream online.

Filmography

1930      

So This Is London 

Song o’ My Heart 

Just Imagine

The Princess and the Plumber 

 

1931      

A Connecticut Yankee 

Skyline 

The Big Shot 

 

1932      

Tarzan the Ape Man 

The Silver Lining 

Fast Companions

Strange Interlude 

Skyscraper Souls

Okay, America! 

Payment Deferred 

Robbers’ Roost 

 

1933      

The Cohens and Kellys in Trouble 

Tugboat Annie 

Stage Mother

 

1934      

Tarzan and His Mate

The Thin Man 

Hide-Out 

The Barretts of Wimpole Street 

 

1935      

David Copperfield

West Point of the Air 

Cardinal Richelieu 

The Flame Within 

Woman Wanted 

Anna Karenina 

The Bishop Misbehaves 

 

1936      

The Voice of Bugle Ann 

The Devil-Doll

Tarzan Escapes 

 

1937      

A Day at the Races 

The Emperor’s Candlesticks 

Between Two Women 

My Dear Miss Aldrich 

 

1938      

A Yank at Oxford

Hold That Kiss 

Port of Seven Seas 

The Crowd Roars 

Spring Madness

 

1938      

Let Us Live 

Tarzan Finds a Son!

 

1940      

Sporting Blood 

Pride and Prejudice

 

1941      

Maisie Was a Lady 

Tarzan’s Secret Treasure

 

1942      

Tarzan’s New York Adventure 

 

1948      

The Big Clock

 

1950      

Where Danger Lives 

 

1951      

No Resting Place 

 

1952      

Bonzo Goes to College 

 

1953      

All I Desire 

Mission Over Korea 

 

1954      

Duffy of San Quentin 

The Steel Cage

 

1957      

The Tall T 

 

1958      

Wild Heritage 

 

1965      

Never Too Late 

 

1970      

The Phynx 

 

1985      

Too Scared to Scream

 

1986      

Hannah and Her Sisters 

Peggy Sue Got Married 

 

1987      

Stranded 

 

1988      

Good Old Boy: A Delta Boyhood 

Awards

Maureen O’Sullivan was never nominated for an Academy Award.

Hollywood was a fantasy world in more ways than one. But it must be said that the industry did a lot for the war effort by producing some marvelous propaganda movies. ~ Maureen O’Sullivan

Maureen Paula O’Sullivan was born May 17, 1911 in Boyle, County Roscommon, Ireland, the daughter of Evangeline “Mary Eva” Lovatt (née Frazer) and Charles Joseph O’Sullivan, an officer in the Connaught Rangers who served in World War I.

She attended a convent school in Dublin, then the Convent of the Sacred Heart at Roehampton (now Woldingham School), England. One of her classmates there was Vivian Mary Hartley, future Academy Award-winning actress Vivien Leigh. After attending finishing school in France, O’Sullivan returned to Dublin to work with the poor.

O’Sullivan’s film career began when she met motion picture director Frank Borzage, who was doing location filming on Song o’ My Heart for 20th Century Fox. He suggested she take a screen test. She did and won a part in the movie, which starred Irish tenor John McCormack. In October 1929, she sailed to New York with her mother on the British steamer R.M.S. Baltic, on the way to Hollywood to finish the movie. O’Sullivan appeared in six movies at Fox, then made three more at other movie studios.

In 1932, she signed a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. After several roles there and at other movie studios, she was chosen by Irving Thalberg to appear as Jane Parker in Tarzan the Ape Man, opposite co-star Johnny Weissmuller. She was one of the more popular ingenues at MGM throughout the 1930s and appeared in a number of other productions with various stars. In all, O’Sullivan played Jane in six features between 1932 and 1942

She was featured with William Powell and Myrna Loy in The Thin Man (1934) and played Kitty in Anna Karenina (1935) with Greta Garbo, Fredric March, and Basil Rathbone. After co-starring with the Marx Bros in A Day At The Races (1937), she appeared as Molly Beaumont in A Yank at Oxford (1938), which was written partly by F. Scott Fitzgerald. At her request, he rewrote her part to give it substance and novelty.

Maureen O’Sullivan and Greer Garson in Pride and Prejudice

Maureen O’Sullivan and Greer Garson in Pride and Prejudice

She played another Jane in Pride and Prejudice (1940) with Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson, and supported Ann Sothern in Maisie Was a Lady (1941). After appearing in Tarzan’s New York Adventure (1942), O’Sullivan asked MGM to release her from her contract so she could care for her husband who had just left the Navy with typhoid. She retreated from show business, devoting her time to her family. In 1948, she re-appeared on the screen in The Big Clock, directed by her husband for Paramount Pictures. She continued to appear occasionally in her husband’s movies and on television. However, by 1960 she believed she had permanently retired. In 1958, Farrow’s and O’Sullivan’s eldest son, Michael, died in a plane crash in California.

Actor Pat O’Brien encouraged her to take a part in summer stock, and the play A Roomful of Roses opened in 1961. That led to another play, Never Too Late, in which she co-starred with Paul Ford in what was her Broadway debut. Shortly after it opened on Broadway, John Farrow died of a heart attack. O’Sullivan stuck with acting after Farrow’s death: she was the Today Girl for NBC for a while, then made the movie version of Never Too Late (1965) for Warner Bros.. She was also an executive director of a bridal consulting service, Wediquette International. In June and July 1972, O’Sullivan was in Denver, Colorado, to star in the Elitch Theatre production of Butterflies are Free with Karen Grassle and Brandon deWilde. The show ended on July 1, 1972. Five days later, while still in Denver, deWilde was killed in a motor vehicle accident.

When her daughter, actress Mia Farrow, became involved with Woody Allen both professionally and romantically, she appeared in Hannah and Her Sisters, playing Farrow’s mother. She had roles in Peggy Sue Got Married (1986) and the science fiction oddity Stranded (1987). Mia Farrow named one of her own sons Ronan O’Sullivan Farrow for her mother. In 1994, she appeared with Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers in Hart to Hart: Home Is Where the Hart Is, a feature-length made-for-TV movie with the wealthy husband-and-wife team from the popular weekly detective series Hart to Hart.

O’Sullivan’s first husband was the Australian-American writer, award-winning director and Catholic convert John Villiers Farrow, from September 12, 1936 until his death on January 28, 1963. She and Farrow were the parents of seven children: Michael Damien (1939–1958), Patrick Joseph (Patrick Villiers Farrow, 1942–2009), Maria de Lourdes Villiers (Mia Farrow, b. 1945), John Charles (b. 1946), Prudence Farrow (b. 1948), Stephanie Farrow (b. 1949) and Theresa Magdalena “Tisa” Farrow (b. 1951). O’Sullivan married James Cushing, a wealthy businessman, on August 22, 1983; they remained wed until her death in 1998. Maureen O’Sullivan became a US citizen on October 22, 1947, in Los Angeles, California

Maureen O’Sullivan died in Scottsdale, Arizona, of complications from heart surgery on  June 23, 1998, at age 87. O’Sullivan is buried at Most Holy Redeemer Cemetery, Niskayuna, New York, Mr. Cushing’s hometown. She was survived by five of her children, 32 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. Her son Patrick Villiers Farrow, a sculptor, peace, and environmental activist, committed suicide in 2009. Her grandson, Ronan Farrow, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist.

Fan Favorite Films You Can Stream Online Now

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