Legendary actress Maureen O'Hara has died aged 95

24 October, 2015 01:00

LEGENDARY actress Maureen O'Hara, the Irish beauty who appeared in such classic films as The Quiet Man and How Green Was My Valley, has died.

Her manager, Johnny Nicoletti, says O'Hara died in her sleep on Saturday at her home in Boise, Idaho. She was 95.

O'Hara came to Hollywood to star in 1939's The Hunchback of Notre Dame and went on to a long career.

How Green Was My Valley, a touching 1941 drama about a Welsh mining family, won five Oscars including best picture.

She became John Wayne's favourite leading lady, appearing with him in The Quiet Man and other films.

And she was little Natalie Wood's mother in the Christmas classic Miracle on 34th Street.

She is survived by a daughter in Ireland.

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”.

Irish News reporter Valerie Robinson wrote this account of the legendary star's life and times:

Born Maureen FitzSimons in Rane-lagh, 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 Theatre 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 collaboration with director John Ford and actor John Wayne that O’Hara is best known.

Ford cast her in How Green Was My Valley while her strong screen chemistry with long-time friend Wayne saw the pair collaborate on 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.

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.


24 October, 2015 01:00 News

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