Maureen O'Hara

Maureen O'Hara Dies Oct 2015 at theatregold.com

 

Maureen O’Hara (born Maureen FitzSimons; 17 August 1920 – 24 October 2015) was an Irish-American actress and singer. The famously red-headed O’Hara was known for her beauty and playing fiercely passionate but sensible heroines, often in westerns and adventure films. She worked on numerous occasions with director John Ford and long time friend John Wayne, and was one of the last surviving stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood. On 24 October 2015, Maureen O’Hara died in her sleep at her home in Boise, Idaho from natural causes. She was 95 years old. O’Hara was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia next to her late husband Charles Blair.

 

In 1960, O’Hara starred on Broadway in the musical Christine which ran for 12 performances.  It was a problematic production, and the director, Jerome  Chodorov, was so displeased with it that he requested that his name be removed from the credits.  She found her Broadway failure to be a “major disappointment” and returned to Hollywood. That year she released two recordings, Love Letters from Maureen O’Hara and Maureen O’Hara Sings her Favourite Irish Songs.  She described Love Letters from Maureen O’Hara, a moderate success, as an act of revenge, given that Hollywood would not let her appear in a musical.

Christine – 46th Street Theatre

christineplaybill

 

 

O’Hara grew up in the Dublin suburb of Ranelagh to an “eccentric” devout Catholic family, and aspired to become an actress from a very young age. She trained with the Rathmines Theatre Company from the age of 10 and at the Abbey Theatre from the age of 14. She was given a screen test, which was deemed unsatisfactory, but Charles Laughton saw potential and arranged for her to co-star with him in Alfred Hitchcock’s Jamaica Inn in 1939. She moved to Hollywood the same year to appear with him in production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and was given a contract by RKO Pictures. From there, she went on to enjoy a long and highly successful career, and acquired the nickname “The Queen of Technicolor”, something which she detested, believing that people saw her only for her beauty rather than talent. O’Hara gained a reputation in Hollywood for bossiness and prudishness, avoiding the partying lifestyle. She appeared in films such as How Green Was My Valley (1941) (her first collaboration with John Ford), The Black Swan with Tyrone Power (1942), The Spanish Main (1945), Sinbad the Sailor (1947), the Christmas classic Miracle on 34th Street (1947) with John Payne and Natalie Wood and Comanche Territory (1950).

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Select Filmography


  • Jamaica Inn (1939)
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)
  • How Green Was My Valley (1941)
  • The Black Swan (1942)
  • This Land is Mine (1943)
  • Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
  • A Woman’s Secret (1949)
  • Rio Grande (1950)
  • The Quiet Man (1952)
  • The Long Gray Line (1955)
  • Our Man in Havana (1959)
  • The Parent Trap (1961)
  • McLintock! (1963)
  • Big Jake (1971)
Holding the Man on DVD Here