Maureen O'Hara (1920 - 2015)

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It was 1958 or 1959 and I was walking along Central Park South near the Plaza Hotel and saw Maureen O'Hara who was breathtakingly beautiful in person. She stopped to chat with me and was sweet and lovely and gave me her autograph. I always counted her as one of the top ten most beautiful women that I've met. I have studied many photographs of hers and it became obvious by her poses that she was proud of her sex appeal. She happened to die on my birthday.
Maureen O'Hara
Born August 17, 1920 in now Ranelagh, Dublin, Republic of Ireland
Died October 24, 2015 in Boise, Idaho, USA (natural causes)
Birth Name Maureen FitzSimons
Nicknames Big Red The Pirate Queen The Queen of Technicolor
Height 5' 7½" (1.71 m)
In America, the early performing arts accomplishments of young Maureen FitzSimons (whom we know as Maureen O'Hara) would definitely have put her in the child prodigy category. However, for a child of Irish heritage surrounded by gifted parents and family, these were very natural traits. Maureen made her entrance into this caring haven on August 17, 1920, in Ranelagh (a suburb of Dublin), Ireland. Her mother, Marguerita Lilburn FitzSimons, was an accomplished contralto. Her father, Charles FitzSimons, managed a business in Dublin and also owned part of the renowned Irish soccer team "The Shamrock Rovers". Maureen was the second of six FitzSimons children - Peggy, Florrie, Charles B. Fitzsimons, Margot Fitzsimons and James O'Hara completed this beautiful family.
Maureen loved playing rough athletic games as a child and excelled in sports. She combined this interest with an equally natural gift for performing. This was demonstrated by her winning pretty much every Feis award for drama and theatrical performing her country offered. By age 14 she was accepted to the prestigious Abbey Theater and pursued her dream of classical theater and operatic singing. This course was to be altered, however, when Charles Laughton, after seeing a screen test of Maureen, became mesmerized by her hauntingly beautiful eyes. Before casting her to star in Jamaica Inn (1939), Laughton and his partner, Erich Pommer, changed her name from Maureen FitzSimons to "Maureen O'Hara" - a bit shorter last name for the marquee.
Under contract to Laughton, Maureen's next picture was to be filmed in America (The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)) at RKO Pictures. The epic film was an extraordinary success and Maureen's contract was eventually bought from Laughton by RKO. At 19, Maureen had already starred in two major motion pictures with Laughton. Unlike most stars of her era, she started at the top, and remained there - with her skills and talents only getting better and better with the passing years.
Maureen has an enviable string of all-time classics to her credit that include the aforementioned "The Hunchback of Notre Dame", How Green Was My Valley (1941), Miracle on 34th Street (1947), Sitting Pretty (1948), The Quiet Man (1952), The Parent Trap (1961) and McLintock! (1963). Add to this the distinction of being voted one of the five most beautiful women in the world and you have a film star who was as gorgeous as she was talented.
Although at times early in her career Hollywood didn't seem to notice, there was much more to Maureen O'Hara than her dynamic beauty. She not only had a wonderful lyric soprano voice, but she could use her inherent athletic ability to perform physical feats that most actresses couldn't begin to attempt, from fencing to fisticuffs. She was a natural athlete.
In her career Maureen starred with some of Hollywood's most dashing leading men, including Tyrone Power, John Payne, Rex Harrison, James Stewart, Henry Fonda, Brian Keith, Sir Alec Guinness and, of course, her famed pairings with "The Duke" himself, John Wayne. She starred in five films with Wayne, the most beloved being The Quiet Man (1952).

In addition to famed director John Ford, Maureen was also fortunate to have worked for some other great directors in the business: Alfred Hitchcock, William Dieterle, Henry Hathaway, Henry King, Jean Renoir, John M. Stahl, William A. Wellman, Frank Borzage, Walter Lang, George Seaton, George Sherman, Carol Reed, Delmer Daves, David Swift, Andrew V. McLaglen and Chris Columbus.
In 1968 Maureen found much deserved personal happiness when she married Charles Blair. Gen. Blair was a famous aviator whom she had known as a friend of her family for many years. A new career began for Maureen, that of a full-time wife. Her marriage to Blair, however, was again far from typical. Blair was the real-life version of what John Wayne had been on the screen. He had been a Brigadier General in the Air Force, a Senior Pilot with Pan American, and held many incredible record-breaking aeronautic achievements. Maureen happily retired from films in 1973 after making the TV movie The Red Pony (1973) (which won the prestigious Peabody Award for Excellence) with Henry Fonda. With Blair, Maureen managed Antilles Airboats, a commuter sea plane service in the Caribbean. She not only made trips around the world with her pilot husband, but owned and published a magazine, "The Virgin Islander", writing a monthly column called "Maureen O'Hara Says".
Tragically, Charles Blair died in a plane crash in 1978. Though completely devastated, Maureen pulled herself together and, with memories of ten of the happiest years of her life, continued on. She was elected President and CEO of Antilles Airboats, which brought her the distinction of being the first woman president of a scheduled airline in the United States.
Fortunately, she was coaxed out of retirement several times - once in 1991 to star with John Candy in Only the Lonely (1991) and again, in 1995, in a made-for-TV movie, The Christmas Box (1995) on CBS. In the spring of 1998, Maureen accepted the second of what would be three projects for Polson Productions and CBS: Cab to Canada (1998) - and, in October, 2000, The Last Dance (2000).
On November 4, 2014 Maureen was honored by a long overdue Oscar for "Lifetime Achievement" at the annual Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Governors Awards.
Maureen O'Hara was absolutely stunning, with that trademark red hair, dazzling smile and those huge, expressive eyes. She has fans from all over the world of all ages who are utterly devoted to her legacy of films and her persona as a strong, courageous and intelligent woman.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: June Parker Beck/edited by Maureen O'Hara
Born: August 17, 1920, Ranelagh, Dublin, Ireland
Died: October 24, 2015, Boise, ID

Maureen O'Hara Biography & Family History

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Birth

in Dublin, County Dublin Ireland

Death

on in Boise, Ada County, Idaho United States

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Famous Actress
Maureen has an enviable string of all-time classics to her credit that include the aforementioned "The Hunchback of Notre Dame", How Green Was My Valley (1941), Miracle on 34th Street (1947), Sitting Pretty (1948), The Quiet Man (1952), The Parent Trap (1961) and McLintock! (1963). Add to this the distinction of being voted one of the five most beautiful women in the world and you have a film star who was as gorgeous as she was talented.
Although at times early in her career Hollywood didn't seem to notice, there was much more to Maureen O'Hara than her dynamic beauty. She not only had a wonderful lyric soprano voice, but she could use her inherent athletic ability to perform physical feats that most actresses couldn't begin to attempt, from fencing to fisticuffs. She was a natural athlete.
In her career Maureen starred with some of Hollywood's most dashing leading men, including Tyrone Power, John Payne, Rex Harrison, James Stewart, Henry Fonda, Brian Keith, Sir Alec Guinness and, of course, her famed pairings with "The Duke" himself, John Wayne. She starred in five films with Wayne, the most beloved being The Quiet Man (1952).
In addition to famed director John Ford, Maureen was also fortunate to have worked for some other great directors in the business: Alfred Hitchcock, William Dieterle, Henry Hathaway, Henry King, Jean Renoir, John M. Stahl, William A. Wellman, Frank Borzage, Walter Lang, George Seaton, George Sherman, Carol Reed, Delmer Daves, David Swift, Andrew V. McLaglen and Chris Columbus.
On November 4, 2014 Maureen was honored by a long overdue Oscar for "Lifetime Achievement" at the annual Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Governors Awards.

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Female

Timeline

1920 - In the year that Maureen O'Hara was born, in September, a bomb exploded in the J.P. Morgan bank building in New York City, killing 30 people immediately - 8 later died due to their injuries - and injuring another 200. Killing more people than the 1910 bombing of the LA Times (the deadliest terrorist act up until then), no one took responsibility and the perpetrators were never found. Italian anarchists were suspected of the bombing.

1938 - By the time she was 18 years old, on October 30th, a Sunday, The Mercury Theatre on the Air broadcast Orson Welles' special Halloween show The War of the World's. A clever take on H.G. Wells' novel, the show began with simulated "breaking news" of an invasion by Martians. Because of the realistic nature of the "news," there was a public outcry the next day, calling for regulation by the FCC. Although the current story is that many were fooled and panicked, in reality very few people were fooled. But the show made Orson Welles' career.

1962 - By the time she was 42 years old, on February 20th, Lt. Col. John H. Glenn, Jr. became the first American to orbit the Earth. The Friendship 7 flew three times around the earth in 4 hours and 55 minutes. At age 77, Glenn returned to space - the oldest person to fly in space.

1978 - Maureen was 58 years old when on July 25th, Louise Brown, the first "test-tube baby", was born at Oldham Hospital in London. Louise was conceived through IVF (in vitro fertilization), a controversial and experimental procedure at the time.

1999 - She was 79 years old when the fear that Y2K (year 2000) would cause the failure of computers worldwide when clocks didn't properly update to January 1st, 2000 became near panic. While some computer systems and software did have problems, the panic was unfounded and computer life went on.

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Charles F. Blair (11 March 1968 - 2 September 1978) ( his death)
Will Price (29 December 1941 - 11 August 1953) ( divorced) ( 1 child)
George H. Brown (12 June 1939 - 15 September 1941) ( annulled)
Trade Mark (4)
Red hair and green eyes
Often worked with director John Ford
Often starred with John Wayne
Usually played proud, strong-willing and tempermental Irish lasses
Trivia (45)
Siblings: Peggy FitzSimons (a Sisters of Charity nun); television/film producer Charles B. Fitzsimons (now deceased); actress Florrie FitzSimons (aka Clare Hamilton) (now deceased); Margot Fitzsimons; and actor James FitzSimons (aka James O'Hara) (now deceased).
Inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1993.
Gave birth to her only child at age 23, a daughter Bronwyn Brigid Price (aka Bronwyn FitzSimons) on June 30, 1944. Her daughter's father was her second husband, later ex-husband, William Houston Price (aka Will Price).
Performed many of her own stunts in her films, rare for an actress at that time.
Brought to Hollywoood by legendary actor, director, producer Charles Laughton, who originally signed her to a personal services performing contract, meaning she was signed to Laughton, instead of to a studio, as was common at that time.
Had starred with John Wayne in five films: Rio Grande (1950), The Quiet Man (1952), The Wings of Eagles (1957), McLintock! (1963) and Big Jake (1971). In all five, Wayne and O'Hara played husband and wife and, in all five, they were estranged at least briefly. The first three were directed by John Ford.
She was born in Churchtown, then a suburb, now a part of metropolitan of Dublin, Ireland.
She was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7004 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on February 8, 1960.
She and John Wayne remained friends until his death. In her home on St. Croix, she had a wing she called the John Wayne Wing because he stayed there when visiting. It was badly damaged by Hurricane Hugo in 1989, some ten years after Wayne's death.
She was made a Fellow of the British Film Institute in recognition of her outstanding contribution to film culture.
She became an American citizen on January 25, 1946 but has retained her Irish citizenship. It was the first time in history that the United States government recognized an Irish citizen as Irish. This led to a change in process for all Irish immigrants.
Grandmother of C. Beau Fitzsimons, son of her daughter Bronwyn.
Aunt of Charles F. FitzSimons.
In the early 1940s, she was one of the actresses invited to the White House for a benefit dinner. She sat right next to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Had a second career after retiring, as a successful magazine publisher; one of the reasons was to help keep her from becoming bored after retirement.
She lost her husband, Charles Blair (September 2, 1978), and her best friend John Wayne (June 11, 1979) just nine months apart.
Was good friends with Ginger Rogers, Anne Baxter, Lucille Ball,Lauren Bacall, Anna Lee, Robert Mitchum, Anthony Quinn, Stuart Whitman and French actress Irina Demick.
Was John Wayne's favorite actress and he considered her a real friend, the only woman he thought of in that way. When he lay dying in his hospital bed, he watched on television as Maureen petitioned Congress to give him a Congressional Gold Medal, which they did by a unanimous vote.
As one of six, Maureen was raised with her siblings at 32 Upper Beechwood Avenue in Dublin's Ranelagh district.
She was a staunch conservative Republican and over time has supported the Presidencies of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George Bush and George W. Bush.
After being signed by Erich Pommer and Charles Laughton, it was thought that the unusual spelling of her last name--FitzSimons--would be a problem, so they gave her the choice of O'Hara or O'Mara.
Received an honorary doctorate from University College in Galway, Ireland (1988).
Received a degree from the Guild School of Music in London and became part of the Abbey Theater in Dublin when she was 14, winning the All-Ireland Cup at 16 for her portrayal of Portia in "The Merchant of Venice", by William Shakespeare.
Acting mentor was Charles Laughton.
Resided with her grandson, C. Beau Fitzsimons, and his family in Boise, Idaho.
Had two great-grandchildren, Bailey and Everest, via grandson C. Beau Fitzsimons.
She was the last credited cast member of Miracle on 34th Street (1947) to pass away on October 24, 2015.
Buried at Arlington Cemetery, besides her late husband Charles Blair, who was a great military officer.
Inducted into the Hair Fan's Hall of Fame in 2008.
Was one of four actresses to be nicknamed "Queen of Technicolor". The other three were Maria Montez, Yvonne De Carlo, and Rhonda Fleming.
Was in three Oscar Best Picture nominees: How Green Was My Valley (1941), Miracle on 34th Street (1947) and The Quiet Man (1952), the first was the only winner.
She was supposed to pair up with John Wayne in The Shootist (1976). However, Don Siegel thought she was wrong for the part and Lauren Bacall was cast. This turned out to be Wayne's final film.
She was considered to team up with John Wayne in Rooster Cogburn (1975). Her part went to Katharine Hepburn.
Really wanted to be an opera soprano.
She has appeared in four films that have been selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant: Dance, Girl, Dance (1940), How Green Was My Valley (1941), Miracle on 34th Street (1947) and The Quiet Man (1952).
Personal Quotes (27)
Speaking as an actress, I wish all actors would be more like Duke [John Wayne]--and speaking as a person, it would be nice if all people could be honest and as genuine as he is. This is a real man.
To the people throughout the world, John Wayne is not just an actor, and a very fine actor--John Wayne is the United States of America.
Every star has that certain something that stands out and compels us to notice them. As for me I have always believed my most compelling quality to be my inner strength, something I am easily able to share with an audience. I'm very comfortable in my own skin. I never thought my looks would have anything to do with becoming a star. Yet it seems that in some ways they did.
Comedy is quite difficult, you have to be able to have fun and portray that sense of fun to the audience watching you.
[on John Garfield]: He was my shortest leading man, an outspoken Communist and a real sweetheart.
I spent a great deal of time with Ernesto 'Che' Guevara while I was in Havana. I feel he was less a mercenary than he was a freedom fighter.
[reacting to the heavy make-up she had to wear for her first screen test] I looked like Mata Hari!
I made John Wayne sexy. I take credit for that.
[2010, her advice to young people wanting a career in drama] If you really want it, go after it--and learn how to speak properly, for God's sake!
[When being handed her honorary Oscar] I only hope it's silver or gold and not like a spoon out of the kitchen.
How could you have had such a wonderful life as me if there wasn't a God directing?
[on Sam Peckinpah, who directed her in The Deadly Companions (1961)] I didn't enjoy Sam at all. I have to be honest. I didn't think he was a very good director. I think he was lucky that whatever happened in his career happened. I think it was luck, not talent. I'm sorry. You have to forgive me. He was not a good director and if his films turned out successful, that was luck... and people protecting him, like the cameramen and the producers. Different people protecting him made him look good.
[on some of the leading men she worked with] I enjoyed James Stewart, I enjoyed Brian Keith and I enjoyed Henry Fonda. Jeff Chandler was a nice man but a bad actor.
[on being asked what her most marked characteristic was] The hell and fire in me. They came as a set.
[on Lady Godiva of Coventry (1955)] The critics weren't kind, but it's worth remembering as one of Clint Eastwood's first films. Years later, I saw him at an awards ceremony, and he told me how glad he was to have that part. He said he was hard up at the time, and it helped him pay the rent.
That was real dung in The Quiet Man (1952). He was the biggest devil, John Ford. He put as much of that dung in the field as he could, and then made sure that I was covered in it by the end of the day. Oh, I can still smell that awful stuff.
I wouldn't throw myself on the casting couch, and I know that cost me parts. I wasn't going to play the whore. That wasn't me.
My first real kisses came from my leading men. Imagine how nervous I was when I suddenly found myself kissing men like Tyrone Power.
[on Walt Disney's comment, "That bitch"] I don't mind what he said. He didn't like me because I wouldn't let him get out of a contract. Not many people had the guts to stand up to him. At least he didn't think of me and say, 'That wimp'.
I've always been a tough Irish lass.
I proved there was a bloody good actress in me. It wasn't just my face. I gave bloody good performances.
I hear he's a real lady killer" I continued. But Lucille (Ball) didn't finch, and responded "and here's his next victim.
Salary (2)
Dance, Girl, Dance (1940) $12,400
The Parent Trap (1961) $75,000

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