Tuesday, November 9, 2010

WHERE ARE THEY NOW: MAUREEN O'HARA


In my opinion, I think Maureen O'Hara was one of the most beautiful actresses to ever come out of Hollywood. Maureen was born Maureen Fitzsimons in 1920 in Ireland. The famously red-headed O'Hara has been noted for playing fiercely passionate heroines with a highly sensible attitude. She often worked with director John Ford and longtime friend John Wayne. Her autobiography, 'Tis Herself , was published in 2004.

Her first major film was Jamaica Inn (1938) directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Charles Laughton was so pleased with O'Hara's performance that he cast her in the role of Esmeralda opposite him in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939), which was to be filmed at RKO Studios in Hollywood that same year. After the successful completion of Hunchback, World War II began, and Laughton, realizing their studio could no longer film in London, sold O'Hara's contract to RKO. That studio cast her in low-budget films until she was rescued by director John Ford, who cast her as Angharad in How Green Was My Valley, which won the 1941 Academy Award for Best Picture.

Six years later, in 1947, she made what is perhaps her best-remembered film, starring as Doris Walker and the mother of a young Natalie Wood in 20th Century Fox's Miracle on 34th Street, which, despite being released in May, has become a perennial Christmas classic, with a traditional network television airing every Thanksgiving Day on NBC. The film also helped to further establish O'Hara's career after the film garnered several awards, including an Academy Award Nomination for Best Picture.

In 1939, at the age of 19, O'Hara secretly married Englishman George H. Brown, a film producer, production assistant and occasional scriptwriter whose best known work is the first of Margaret Rutherford's 1960s Miss Marple mysteries, Murder She Said. The marriage was annulled in 1941. Later that year, O'Hara married American film director William Houston Price (dialog director in The Hunchback of Notre Dame), but the union ended in 1953, reportedly as a result of his alcohol abuse. They had one child in 1944, a daughter named Bronwyn FitzSimons Price. Bronwyn has one son, Conor Beau FitzSimons, who was born on September 8, 1970. From 1953 until 1967 O'Hara had a relationship with Enrique Parra, a Mexican politician and banker. She wrote in her autobiography ; "Enrique saved me from the darkness of an abusive marriage and brought me back into the warm light of life again. Leaving him was one of the most painful things I have ever had to do."

She married her third husband, Charles F. Blair, Jr., on March 12,1968. Blair was a pioneer of transatlantic aviation, a former Brigadier General of the U.S. Air Force, and a former Chief Pilot at Pan Am. A few years after her marriage to Blair, O'Hara for the most part retired from acting. Blair died in 1978 when an engine of a Grumman Goose he was flying from St. Croix to St. Thomas exploded. She was elected CEO and President of Antilles Airboats with the added distinction of being the first woman president of a scheduled airline in the U.S. Later she sold the airline with the permission of the shareholders.

O'Hara remained retired from acting until 1991, when she starred in the film Only the Lonely, playing Rose Muldoon, the domineering mother of a Chicago cop played by John Candy. In the following years, she continued to work, starring in several made-for-TV movies, including The Christmas Box, Cab for Canada and The Last Dance, the latter her last film to date, released in 2000.


Now officially retired, she has homes in Arizona and the Virgin Islands but lives mainly in Glengarriff, County Cork.

UPDATE AUGUST 2012...Maureen O' Hara has made news again. She is enbroiled in a battle with her assistant, whom she fired. Allegations of elder abuse and mismanagement has come out. You can read more of the story HERE. The article also includes an updated picture of Ms. O'Hara from this year...

UPDATED JANUARY 2013...Maureen is now living in Idaho. You can read more of the update HERE. There is also a picture with her grandson and her two great grandchildren...

UPDATE JUNE 2013...Maureen is leaving the spotlight. Poor woman has had a hard couple of years. You can read the update HERE.

5 comments:

  1. I seen Maureen O'hara will be at John Wayne's birthplace in Iowa sometime in May 2013, it's a once in a lifetime Dream to see the best actress of all time. But I won't be able to make that trip, instead I will read about it on this post and wishing her well and blessings to her and her family on here.
    Mustang, Oklahoma

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  2. Here are the details: http://www.johnwaynebirthplace.org/birthday

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  3. Maureen, if by chance you find this and read it, I wish you the warmest regards for the injustices you have had to deal with, and I pray you find peace through the storm... I pray for your your new transition to be a happy one and that you will rise above this. Thank you for your talents and the gift you have given the world with your wonderful roles on the screen! Blessings,
    Julianne

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  4. I had no liking or disliking of Maureen until she was interviewed by Larry King once. She co-starred a movie with Errol Flynn. This might be the reason Larry King asked her opinion about Flynn. She gave a rather judgmental and unkind response. Considering by then Flynn had died decades ago and considering Flynn, by all accounts, was an extremely likable guy. Yes, he might be a rascal who loved women. Thus, her unkind words didn't sit well with me because dead persons deserve some respect, especially they are unable to defend themselves. Also, at his prime, Flynn was much larger star than many. To publicly humiliate a public figure without sufficient reasons to me is a less than decent act.

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    1. You forget that Maureen is a Celt. We celts say it as we see it, which is not necessarily what people want to hear. I surmise you would rather she had lied and glossed over Mr. Flynn's personality. We all die...it's how we lived that will be our judge!

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