She was an iconic Irish actress during the Golden Age of Hollywood, but how much do you really know about the star? Here are the top ten facts about Maureen O’Hara that you never knew.
The late, great Irish redheaded Hollywood star, who was born in Dublin but moved to the United States to pursue a career as an actress.
Known as one of the most beautiful women of Hollywood’s Golden Age, she went on to star in some of the most famous movies of all time, including John Ford’s The Quiet Man, McLintock!, and the Christmas classic Miracle on 34th Street to name but few.
Maureen O’Hara has also starred with big names such as John Wayne, Edmund Gwenn, Alec Guinness, John Farrow, John Candy, John Payne, Henry Fonda, and James Stewart.
Still, she, herself, was a big name with much commercial success during the Golden Age in Hollywood, and rightly so!
You thought you knew everything there is to know about ‘The Queen of Technicolour’? Well, here are the top ten facts about Maureen O’Hara that you never knew.
10. Maureen FitzSimons – it’s all in the name
O’Hara was, in fact, born Maureen FitzSimons to parents Marguerita Lilburn FitzSimons and Charles FitzSimons. She grew up in a Catholic family in Dublin before moving to the United States to pursue her acting career.
However, when she left for the United States, having been discovered by Charles Laughton, she was given the choice of O’Hara or O’Mara, as she thought her original last name would prove difficult across the pond.
9. Stuntwoman – a tough woman and star of action films
Interestingly enough, this goddess with ginger hair was so strong-willed and determined in her career, that she was unafraid to perform her own stunts on the set of numerous action films.
She used a sword in both her movies Against All Flags and RKO Radio Pictures’ At Sword’s Point. She also did a lot of stunt work in McLintock!, in which she starred alongside Jogn Wayne.
8. Shamrock Rovers – her beloved team
Maureen’s father Charles B. FitzSimons was a part-owner of the famous football team ‘Shamrock Rovers’, a local Dublin team that she held close to her heart.
7. Her roles with John Wayne – longtime friends
Maureen O’Hara went on to star in five hit movies with co-star John Wayne.
The chemistry between John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara on screen was so realistic that many thought they had a romantic connection.
However, the pair always said they were ‘just friends’. In fact, O’Hara married three times in her life. Once to George H. Brown, once to William Houston Price, and lastly, to Charles Blair.
6. ‘Tis Herself’ – an autobiography
O’Hara’s autobiography was entitled ‘Tis Herself, and tells the incredible story of her rise to fame, beginning in a small town in Dublin and leading to the big screen.
It also depicts first hand, what life was like for the star during the ‘Golden Age of Hollywood’, much different than it is today.
5. Tomboy – a passion for sports
As a youngster, Maureen considered herself a tomboy, taking part in all sorts of sports, including fishing, swimming, climbing trees, and soccer – she even asked her father to form a women’s soccer team which she called her second home.
4. Her future was predicted – one of the top facts about Maureen O’Hara
At age five, O’Hara was told by a gypsy that she would go on to be a famous woman known to people all over the world.
Of course, this became a reality years later, when she became a multi-Academy Award nominated actress with much success in the film industry.
3. Making history – a proud Irish-American actress
In 1946, Maureen was given American citizenship and was the first person ever to be recognised as Irish by the US government.
It made history for all the Irish-American citizens from then on, and she proudly kept her Irish citizenship.
2. Marriages – third time lucky
O’Hara was married three times, once to George H. Brown in 1939, then to American film director William Price in 1941, and finally to Charles F. Blair Jr. in 1968.
She has a daughter named Bronwyn Bridget Price from her second marriage.
1. Airline president – making history yet again
Following the death of her third husband, Charles F. Blair Jr. in 1978, O’Hara became the first woman president of a scheduled US airline, commuter sea plane service Antilles Airboats, which led to history-in-the-making yet again.
So there you have it, the top ten facts about Maureen O’Hara that you never knew, or at least a few that you may not have known. Hailing from the leafy suburb of Ranelagh, Dublin, the actress never forgot her Irish heritage.
She became well-known for playing fierce women who stood up for what they believed in, including feisty noblewoman Contessa Francesca in RKO Pictures’ The Spanish Main, much like her real-life Irish nature.
From starring as Doris Walker, alongside Edmund Gwenn as Kris Kringle and John Payne as Fred Gailey, in 20th Century Fox’s Miracle on 34th Street to the formidable Mary in Mayflower Pictures and Alfred Hitchcock’s Jamaica Inn, she enjoyed plenty of commercial success and became the favourite actress of many.
After being discovered by Charles Laughton, she had a long career, over 70 years in fact. Over which, she won countless awards for her work, including several Academy Award nominations, leaving lasting memories for everyone who knew her and followed her career.
Travel around Ireland and you will spot many monuments dedicated to her, leaving no doubt that we are a proud nation to call Maureen O’Hara one of our own and one of the best Irish actors of all time.
FAQs about Maureen O’Hara
How old was Maureen O’Hara when she died?
Maureen O’Hara died in October 2015, two months after her 95th birthday.
How many movies did Maureen O’Hara make with John Wayne?
Maureen O’Hara and John Wayne worked together on five films. The two starred together in three works from director John Ford. These include Rio Grande, The Quiet Man, and The Wings of Eagles. Aside from the movies they worked on with John Ford, O’Hara also collaborated with John Wayne on McLintock! and Big Jake.
How many times did Maureen O’Hara get married?
Maureen O’Hara married three times. First to George H. Brown in 1939, then to William Price in 1941, with whom she has a daughter named Bronwyn Bridget Price, and finally to Charles Blair Jr. in 1968.
What was the last movie Maureen O’Hara made?
The last film Maureen O’Hara made was the 1991 romantic comedy-drama Only the Lonely, distributed by 20th Century Fox. She played an overbearing Irish mother called Rose Muldoon and starred alongside John Candy.