Maureen O'Hara, John Wayne's Movie Sweetheart
Miss Maureen O’Hara
Maureen O'Hara was born in 1920 in Dublin Ireland. Although her stage name sounds Irish enough her name was originally Maureen Fitzsimmons.
Maureen O'Hara starred in movies spanning more than 60 years and in more than a few she co-starred alongside John Wayne a man who was to become a lifelong friend. Most if not all of these movies were directed by John Ford.
Flame haired, at one time, Maureen was always a startling beauty. This beauty has grown over the years.
With a soft lilting Irish American accent, flaming red hair and startling beauty Miss O'Hara always gave memorable performances
Young Maureen O'Hara starred alongside John Wayne in The Quiet Man a now classic movie set in Ireland.
The role was a little unusual for Wayne but the pair worked well together. So much so, I guess, that it was obvious we would see more of them playing opposite each other.
Maureen's young years were spent in Ireland and her parents were both talented individuals who were to have six children in all.
Maureen was the second child of this brood.
By the time she was 14-years-old Maureen was already showing a talent for athletics, acting and singing.
Singing could have been in her genes as her Mother was a talented singer.
In 1939 Maureen was cast in a movie of the Daphne Du Maurier book Jamaica Inn and success followed rapidly.
Under contract to Charles Laughton her next film was soon released. It was an American production and it was The Hunchback of Notre Dame a movie which confirmed her stardom.
It was still only 1939 and Maureen was aged just 19.
Miss O'Hara became a movie favourite loved by all and was voted one of the most beautiful women in the world.
Her acting talent continued to blossom with movies such as The Parent Trap, How Green Was My Valley, McLintock, Sitting Pretty and Miracle on 34th Street.
Maureen's beautiful soprano singing voice and athletic talents gave her the edge over many other actresses of the day.
This multi-talented woman was ultimately very much in demand in Hollywood.
She starred alongside, such leading men, as Tyrone Power, Henry Fonda and James Stewart but John Wayne was to be her leading man 5 times In total.
I guess this meant that it was fitting for Maureen to be the one to ask Congress, in 1979, that a John Wayne medal be cast. She made a heartwarming speech, straight from the heart, which had not been prepared.
Part of it said that:-
It is my great honor to be here. I beg you to strike a medal for Duke, to order the President to strike it. And I feel that the medal should say just one thing, 'John Wayne, American’.
Maureen retired from acting but returned for one more film in 1991.
She played John Candy's Mum in Only The Lonely.
Over the years Maureen O'Hara was a very successful actress and in retirement remained much loved across the world.
In her autobiography, “’Tis Herself,” published in 2004 Miss O’Hara was candid about her off screen life. Married three times she reportedly had extra marital affairs.
But for movie fans Maureen would always be John Wayne’s innocent Irish sweetheart.
Maureen O’Hara died October 24, 2015, aged 95.