Maureen O’Hara


Maureen O’Hara (born Maureen FitzSimons; August 17, 1920 – October 24, 2015) was an American and Irish actress and singer. She was a famous redhead who was known for playing fiercely passionate, but sensible heroines, often in westerns and adventure films. On numerous occasions, she worked with director John Ford and longtime friend John Wayne. O’Hara was one of the last surviving stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood.

O’Hara grew up in Dublin in a Catholic family and aspired to become an actress from a very young age. She trained with the Rathmines Theatre Company from the age of 10 and at the Abbey Theatre from the age of 14. She was given a screen test, which was deemed unsatisfactory, but Charles Laughton saw potential and arranged for her to co-star with him in Alfred Hitchcock‘s Jamaica Inn in 1939. She moved to Hollywood the same year to appear with him in the production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and was given a contract by RKO Pictures.

From there, she went on to enjoy a long and highly successful career, and acquired the nickname “The Queen of Technicolor.” She appeared in films such as How Green Was My Valley (1941) (her first collaboration with John Ford), The Black Swan with Tyrone Power (1942), The Spanish Main (1945), Sinbad the Sailor (1947), the Christmas classic Miracle on 34th Street (1947) with John Payne and Natalie Wood, and Comanche Territory (1950).

O’Hara made her first film with John Wayne, the actor with whom she is most closely associated, in Rio Grande (1950). This was followed by The Quiet Man (1952), The Wings of Eagles (1957), McLintock! (1963) and Big Jake (1971). Such was her strong chemistry with Wayne that many assumed they were married or in a relationship. In the 1960s O’Hara increasingly turned to more motherly roles as she aged, appearing in films such as The Deadly Companions (1961); David Swift‘s The Parent Trap (1961), with Hayley Mills, Brian Keith, Joanna Barnes, Charlie Ruggles, Cathleen Nesbitt, Una Merkel, and Crahan Denton; and The Rare Breed (1966). She retired from the industry in 1971 but returned 20 years later to appear with John Candy in Only the Lonely (1991).

In the late 1970s, O’Hara helped run her third husband Charles F. Blair, Jr.’s flying business in Saint Croix in the United States Virgin Islands, and edited a magazine, but later sold them to spend more time in Glengarriff in Ireland. She was married three times, and had one daughter, Bronwyn with her second husband. Her autobiography, ‘Tis Herself, was published in 2004 and became a New York Times Bestseller. In November 2014, she was presented with an Honorary Academy Award with the inscription “To Maureen O’Hara, one of Hollywood’s brightest stars, whose inspiring performances glowed with passion, warmth and strength.”

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(*seen originally in theaters)

(**seen rereleased in theaters)

  • Kicking the Moon Around (1938) – directed by Walter Forde – as Maureen FitzSimons
  • My Irish Molly (aka Little Miss Molly) (1938) – directed by Alex Bryce – as Maureen FitzSimons
  • Jamaica Inn (1939) – directed by Alfred Hitchcock
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) – directed by William Dieterle
  • A Bill of Divorcement (1940) – directed by John Farrow
  • Dance, Girl, Dance (1940) – directed by Dorothy Arzner
  • They Met in Argentina (1941) – directed by Leslie Goodwins & Jack Hively
  • How Green Was My Valley (1941) – directed by John Ford
  • To the Shores of Tripoli (1942) – directed by H. Bruce Humberstone
  • Ten Gentlemen from West Point (1942) – directed by Henry Hathaway
  • The Black Swan (1942) – directed by Henry King
  • Immortal Sergeant (1943) – directed by John M. Stahl
  • This Land Is Mine (1943) – directed by Jean Renoir
  • The Fallen Sparrow (1943) – directed by Richard Wallace
  • Buffalo Bill (1944) – directed by William A. Wellman
  • The Spanish Main (1945) – directed by Frank Borzage
  • Sentimental Journey (1946) – directed by Walter Lang
  • Do You Love Me (1946) – directed by Gregory Ratoff
  • Sinbad, the Sailor (1947) – directed by Richard Wallace
  • The Homestretch (1947) – directed by H. Bruce Humberstone
  • Miracle on 34th Street (1947) – directed by George Seaton
  • The Foxes of Harrow (1947) – directed by John M. Stahl
  • Sitting Pretty (1948) – directed by Walter Lang
  • A Woman’s Secret (1949) – directed by Nicholas Ray
  • The Forbidden Street (1949) – directed by Jean Negulesco
  • Father Was a Fullback (1949) – directed by John M. Stahl
  • Bagdad (1949) – directed by Charles Lamont
  • Comanche Territory (1950) – directed by George Sherman
  • Rio Grande (1950) – directed by John Ford
  • Tripoli (1950) – directed by Will Price
  • Flame of Araby (1951) – directed by Charles Lamont
  • At Sword’s Point (1952) – directed by Lewis Allen
  • Kangaroo (1952) – directed by Lewis Milestone
  • The Quiet Man (1952)** – directed by John Ford
  • Against All Flags (1952) – directed by George Sherman
  • The Redhead from Wyoming (1953) – directed by Lee Sholem
  • War Arrow (1953) – directed by George Sherman
  • Malaga (1954) – directed by Richard Sale
  • The Long Gray Long (1955) – directed by John Ford
  • The Magnificent Matador (1955) – directed by Budd Boetticher
  • Lady Godiva of Coventry (1955) – directed by Arthur Lubin
  • Lisbon (1956) – directed by Ray Milland
  • Everything But the Truth (1956) – directed by Jerry Hopper
  • The Wings of Eagles (1957) – directed by John Ford
  • Our Man in Havana (1959) – directed by Carol Reed
  • Mrs. Miniver (1960) – directed by Marc Daniels – TV movie
  • Open Windows (1960) – directed by Mitchell Leisen – TV movie
  • The Deadly Companions (1961) – directed by Sam Peckinpah
  • The Parent Trap (1961) – directed by David Swift
  • Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation (1962) – directed by Henry Koster
  • Spencer’s Mountain (1963) – directed by Delmer Daves
  • McLintock! (1963) – directed by Andrew V. McLaglen
  • A Cry of Angels (1963) – directed by George Schaefer – TV movie
  • The Battle of the Villa Fiorta (1965) – directed by Delmer Daves
  • The Rare Breed (1966) – directed by Andrew V. McLaglen
  • How Do I Love Thee? (1970) – directed by Michael Gordon
  • Big Jake (1971) – directed by George Sherman
  • The Red Pony (1973) – directed by Robert Totten – TV movie
  • Only the Lonely (1991) – directed by Chris Columbus
  • The Christmas Box (1994) – directed by Marcus Cole – TV movie
  • Cab to Canada (1998) – directed by Christopher Leitch – TV movie
  • The Last Dance (2000) – directed by Kevin Dowling – TV movie