Actress. She is best remembered for her role of ‘Jane’ in the “Tarzan” movies of the 1930s and 1940s. Considered Ireland's first film star, she was born Maureen Paula O'Sullivan in County Roscommon, the daughter of an officer in the Connaught Rangers of the British Army during World War I. She attended parochial schools in London, England, Paris, France and Dublin, Ireland. In 1929, while studying in Dublin, she met motion picture director Frank Borzage, who was on location for Twentieth Century Fox Studios filming "Song of My Heart" (1930), and he invited the 18 year old for a screen test. She took him up on the offer, the results were very favorable, and she won the part of ‘Eileen O'Brien’ in "Song of My Heart." She would move to Hollywood, California in 1930 to complete the filming, and remained there. She quickly won roles in such films as "Just Imagine" (1930), "So This is London" (1930), and "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" (1931). Considered a popular upcoming actress, after six movies with 20th Century Fox, she signed with Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer Studios in 1932, and was teamed up with Johnny Weissmuller for "Tarzan the Ape Man" (1932), where their on-screen chemistry made them a hit with audiences. She would have a brief affair with Weissmuller in the early 1930s. Fearful of being typecast in the “Jane” – Tarzan role, she would continue making additional movies other than the popularly demanded “Tarzan” sequel movies. She would accept roles in such popular films of the period as in "The Thin Man" (1934), in "Anna Karenina" (1935) and in "Pride and Prejudice" (1940). She would reprise her role of ‘Jane Parker’ in five additional Tarzan movies, the last being "Tarzan's New York Adventure" (1942). In 1936, she married Australian writer John Farrow, with whom she would have seven children, one of which, Mia Farrow, would become an actress and romantically involved with both Frank Sinatra and Woody Allen. After her last “Tarzan” movie, Maureen O’Sullivan asked to be released from her contract so that she could care for her husband who had just left the United States Navy suffering with typhoid. She would continue to make occasional movies, appear on television or the stage, and operated a bridal consulting service. Following the death of her husband of a heart attack in 1963, she would remain a widow until 1983, when she married James Cushing. She maintained homes in Arizona and New Hampshire, but it was in her Scottsdale, Arizona that she died in 1998, from complications of heart surgery, at age 87. Having made over 90 movies, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson
Wife of James E. Cushing, Jr.