Maureen O'Hara

Maureen O'Hara

Birth
Ranelagh, County Dublin, Ireland
Death 24 Oct 2015 (aged 95)
Boise, Ada County, Idaho, USA
Burial Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
Plot Section 2, Site 4966
Memorial ID 16711793 · View Source
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Actress. She is best known for her classic beauty, bright red hair, and fiery Irish temper. Maureen O'Hara was born Maureen FitzSimons in Ranelagh, Ireland, the second of six children born to Charles and Marguerita FitzSimons. Her family had a strong theatrical background. Though a bit of a tomboy and very athletic, Maureen began acting at age 14. She performed at the Abby Theatre, and eventually attended the Ena Mary Burke School of Elocution. At age 17, she was married briefly and would later have the marriage annulled. After witnessing a mediocre screen test, actor Charles Laughton, became enamored with the Irish beauty and helped mentor her throughout the early years of her career. The first advice Laughton insisted upon was a name change from FitzSimons to O’Hara. Her first film role was a brief part in the 1938 film "Kicking the Moon Around." She would appear in two other film's before Laughton cast her in Alfred Hitchcock's 1939 film "Jamaica Inn," opposite himself. Also in 1939, she appeared with Laughton in "The Hunchback of Notre Dame." In 1940, she starred opposite Lucille Ball in "Dance, Girl, Dance." She was with Ball having lunch, when Ball would first lay eyes on her future husband Desi Arnaz. In 1941, she married Englishman Will Price. 1941 was also the year she appeared as ‘Angharad Morgan' in the classic film "How Green Was my Valley." This was the first of many films she would make with director John Ford, and she would forge life-long friendships with co-stars Roddy McDowall and Anna Lee. Lee’s character in the film became the namesake for her only child, daughter Bronwyn. The 1940s brought many film roles for Maureen most notably as ‘Doris Walker,' in "Miracle on 34th Street," in 1947. In 1950, she made her first of five films with John Wayne, "Rio Grande." Maureen became Wayne's favorite co-star and his good friend. Wayne referred to Maureen as “The greatest guy he knew.” In 1952, the duo made their most memorable role together, and what would become Maureen’s favorite role, the Irish lass ‘Mary Kate Danaher,' in "The Quiet Man." In 1953, she and husband Will Price divorced. Being a devout catholic Maureen would not re-marry until after Price's death in 1962. In 1955, she played ‘Lady Godiva," in the film "Lady Godiva of Coventry." In 1957, she would make her third film with John Wayne and director John Ford entitled "The Wings of Eagles." Also in 1957, Maureen made national news when she sued the Hollywood tabloid "Confidential." The magazine alleged she was having a sexual escapade in the balcony of the famed, Grauman's Chinese Theatre. Her brother, producer Charles FitzSimons, helped her case when he brought Maureen's passport to court. Maureen was in Spain at the time the incident was reported. This would bring demise for the magazine. In 1961, she would appear in the film she is most remembered for "The Parent Trap." She played the mother of twins (Played by actress Hayley Mills). The film was made by Walt Disney. Disney promised Maureen top billing, but in the end it went to Mills. Maureen and Disney remained at odds up until Disney's death in 1966. In 1962, she appeared opposite Jimmy Stewart in "Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation." She would pair with Stewart again in 1966 for “The Rare Breed.” In the 1960s, Maureen endured a number of personal tragedies. In 1962, she lost both her mother, as well as her mentor Charles Laughton. She was not able to see him prior to his death. He was kept very sheltered by his wife Elsa Lanchester. Maureen also had a bout with uterine cancer. This did not stop her from filming another film with John Wayne. In 1963, she appeared as Wayne's estranged wife "Katherine," in the film "McLintock!" Maureen did all of her own stunts in the film, though she was recovering from surgery stemming from her cancer. In a famous scene, she is spanked by Wayne, he did not hold back, she was black and blue. In 1968, she married the love of her life pilot General Charles Blair. In 1971, she made her final film with John Wayne, "Big Jake." Upon a suggestion by Wayne, Maureen retired from acting to be a wife. In 1978, her Blair was killed in a mysterious plane crash. She would make history following his death, by running the couples’ small airline in St. Croix, in the Virgin Islands. She was the first female president of an airline. In 1979, she was hit by another blow when friend John Wayne died. In 1991, she would come out of retirement for her last feature film. She played a domineering mother opposite John Candy in "Only the Lonely." Maureen made a few television movies during the 1990s, including "The Christmas Box," in 1996. In 2000, she made her last appearance in the television move "The Last Dance." In 2004, she wrote her autobiography "Tis, Herself." Maureen O’Hara planned to live out her final years in her birthplace of Ireland. However, in 2012, she made headlines for accusing her friend of 35 years of elder abuse and the mishandling of her finances. She moved to Boise, Idaho to spend time with her family. She made her last public appearance in 2014 to receive the Governor’s Award from the Academy of Motion Pictures. Weakened by diabetes and other ailments, Maureen O’Hara died of natural causes at her home in Boise, Idaho. Though in her autobiography she stated she dreamed of living to 102, she was a mere 95 years young.

Bio by: The Perplexed Historian


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Inscription

First Starring Roll In Jamaica Inn 1939
Became Queen Of Technicolor In 1947
Received A Star In Hollywood On The Walk Of Fame In 1960
Became First Lady President Of Antilles Airboats In 1978
Published Her Autobiography 'Tis Herself' In 2004
Honored With A Lifetime Achievement Award From The Irish Film & Television Academy In 2004
Received An Honorary Oscar From The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences In 2014


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: The Perplexed Historian
  • Added: 19 Nov 2006
  • Find A Grave Memorial 16711793
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Maureen O'Hara (17 Aug 1920–24 Oct 2015), Find A Grave Memorial no. 16711793, citing Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .