Legend O'Hara turns 95

Irish-born Hollywood legend Maureen O'Hara, pictured last November, has turned 95

HOLLYWOOD legend Maureen O'Hara marked turning 95 yesterday with a family celebration at her grandson's Idaho home.

The Dublin-born star of films like How Green Was My Valley, The Quiet Man, Miracle on 34th Street and the Parent Trap, has lived with Conor Beau FitzSimons in Boise since quitting West Cork a number of years ago.

Those sending birthday greeting to the actress via Twitter yesterday included the Dublin football club, Shamrock Rovers FC, which was once owned by her father Charles FitzSimons.

The club tweeted: “Happy 95th birthday to a super Hoop and world famous actress - Maureen O'Hara!”

In an RTÉ interview to mark her 90th birthday in 2010, Ms O'Hara revealed she would like to be remembered as ``a Dub and a fan of Shamrock Rovers, and a good performer and actress and maker of movies''.

Born Maureen FitzSimons in Ranelagh, Dublin, on August 17 1920, her father was a businessman while her mother Marguerita worked as a clothier. The couple had six children.

As youngsters, the FitzSimons trained at the Abbey Theater and the Ena Mary Burke School of Drama and Elocution in Dublin, where O'Hara's aspirations for a stage career emerged.

A London screen test prompted actor Charles Laughton to sign the teenager to a seven year contract with his company Mayflower Pictures, which led to the young actress being directed by Alfred Hitchcock in Jamaica Inn and the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

However, it is for her collaborations with director John Ford and actor John Wayne that O'Hara is best known.

Ford first cast her in How Green Was My Valley while her strong screen chemistry with longtime friend Wayne saw the pair collaborating in Rio Grande, The Quiet Man, The Wings of Eagles, McLintock! and Big Jake.

Last November, O'Hara received a lifetime achievement award from the American Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences in Hollywood.

She was presented with her first-ever Oscar by Ballymena-born action hero Liam Neeson.

Earlier this year, Lugdine Park in Glengarriff, the home she bought with her late husband Colonel Charles Blair in 1970, was sold.

O'Hara was thought to have settled permanently in the West Cork property in 2005 until her surprise departure in 2012 after becoming embroiled in a local dispute.

The house was put up for sale for €2.3 million, breaking her final link with the fishing village and putting an end to plans for a museum and film school.


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