MAUREEN O'HARA BIOGRAPHY & FILMOGRAPHY:
Maureen O'Hara was born with the birth name Maureen FitzSimons on August 17th, 1920 in an area of Dublin, Ireland called Ranelagh. Her parents, Charles Stewart Parnell FitzSimons and Marguerita Lilburn FitzSimons had six children total. Her father was involved in the clothing business and her mother a woman's clothier.
As a child O'Hara along with most of her siblings attended Abbey theatre and the Ena Mary Burke School of Drama and Elocution in Dublin for their training. This was O'Hara's first introduction to the entertainment industry and she had dreams to pursue a career as a stage actress.
She had training not only in drama but also in music and dance and at the age of ten, she joined the Rathmines Theatre Company and was already working in amateur theatre. She received her formal education at the Augustine St. John School for Girls in Dublin.
O'Hara really wanted to continue to pursue this aspiration of being an actress, however, her father suggested to be on the safe side, she get a skill in something besides the performing arts incase things did not go as planned. O'Hara earned her self a degree at a business school learning the skills of a bookkeeper and typist.
O'Hara took a chance at a screen test in London and an actor by the name of, Charles Laughton saw the test and was intrigued by O'Hara's appearance. He showed her clip to his business partner and the two men agreed to sign O'Hara to a seven year contract with their new company, Mayflower Pictures.
Her first film under her new contract as, "Jamaica Inn" (1938) starring Charles Laughton, Emlyn Williams, Leslie Banks and Robert Newton, and which was very successful. She then went on to star in, "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" (1939) starring Charles Laughton as Quasimodo, filmed at RKO Studio's. When World War II hit, the company realized it was not going to work to continue filming in London, therefore, they sold O'Hara's remaining contract to RKO Studio's in Hollywood.
O'Hara was not receiving the same type of respect or high quality roles working with RKO until a director by the name of John Ford chose to cast her in a film, "How Green Was My Valley" (1941) also starring, Walter Pidgeon, Rhys Williams, Barry Fitzgerald, Anna Lee, Patric Knowles, Donald Crisp and Roddy McDowall which won an Academy Award for Best Picture.
She continued to work on other films such as, "To the Shores of Tripoli" starring alongside John Payne, Randolph Scott, Minor Watson, Max 'Slapsie Maxie' Rosenbloom, Harry Morgan, Nancy Kelly and Alan Hale Jr., "Ten Gentlemen from West Point" starring George Montgomery, Laird Cregar and John Sutton, and "The Black Swan" starring with Tyrone Power, Laird Cregar, Thomas Mitchell, George Sanders and Anthony Quinn, (all 1942). Majority of her characters portrayed was as a young heroine with strong will such as in, "Buffalo Bill" (1944), "The Spanish Main" (1945) also starring Paul Henreid, Walter Slezak, Barton MacLane and Binnie Barnes and "The Flame of Araby" (1951) co-starring Joel McCrea, Linda Darnell, Thomas Mitchell, Edgar Buchanan and Anthony Quinn. She also became a United States Citizen in 1946.
Her most well remembered film came in 1947 when she took a role on, "Miracle on 34th Street" which co-starring John Payne, Edmund Gwenn, Natalie Wood, Gene Lockhart, Porter Hall, Jerome Cowan, Thelma Ritter, Jack Albertson and William Frawley and produced by 20th Century Fox which earned an Academy Award for Best Picture.
In 1950, under the direction of director John Ford, O'Hara was cast in a number of films opposite John Wayne such as, "Rio Grande" (1950) also starring Chill Wills, Ben Johnson, Harry Carey Jr., Grant Withers, Victor McLaglen and J. Carrol Naish, "The Quiet Man" (1952) which also starred Victor McLaglen, Mildred Natwick, Ward Bond and Barry Fitzgerald and in the "The Wings of Eagles" (1957) co-starring Dan Dailey, Ward Bond, Ken Curtis, Sig Ruman, Willis Bouchey, Tige Andrews and Kenneth Tobey.
An Austrailian Western titled "Kangaroo" (1952) and co-starring Peter Lawford, Chips Rafferty and Richard Boone seemed a bit out of character for Maureen however it just reemphasizes her uncanny ability to handle any type of acting role.
"The Deadly Companions" is a 1961 Western film directed by Sam Peckinpah and co-starring Brian Keith, Steve Cochran, Will Wright and Chill Wills and soon followed a lighthearted comedy with James Stewart titled "Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation" (1962) and featured Fabian Forte, John Saxon, Marie Wilson, Reginald Gardiner and Michael Burns and then another deep drama "Spencer's Mountain" (1963) co-starring Henry Fonda, James MacArthur, Wally Cox, Donald Crisp, Virginia Gregg, Dub Taylor, Whit Bissell and Veronica Cartwright which was to become the model for the highly acclaimed television series by Earl Hammer, "The Waltons" (1972-1978) starring Ralph Waite, Michael Learned, Richard Thomas, Will Geer and Ellen Corby in synergistic roles.
Another John Wayne western, this one with a comedic tone "McLintock!" (1963) starring alongside Yvonne De Carlo, Patrick Wayne, Stefanie Powers, Edgar Buchanan, Strother Martin, Chill Wills, Bruce Cabot, Jerry Van Dyke, Gordon Jones, Mari Blanchard, Leo Gordon, Robert Lowery, Hank Worden and Bob Steele rounded out her collaberation with her close friend John Wayne whom she did a total of five films with him between 1948-1972.
1966 brought us the comedic Western film "The Rare Breed" co-starring James Stewart, Brian Keith, Juliet Mills, Jack Elam, Harry Carey Jr., Don Galloway and Ben Johnson about an expensive prize bull brought cross country in the hopes of improving the quality of the cattle herd of a wealthy Texas rancher.
Not only was she a talented actress and a beautiful woman with a unique and intriguing appearance she also had a beautiful singing voice. Although, no film studio's really took advantage of her musical talents, she was able to do a number of guest star spots on television sharing her musical side.
O'Hara won a variety of Awards in her film career as well as her stage career. She did a hit Broadway musical called, "Christine" in which she won the following awards all from one stage prodcution; the Tony Award, the Drama Critics Circle Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award, the Drama Desk Award, and the Sarah Siddons Award, all in the category of the year's best leading actress in a musical.
Maureen O'Hara married a total of three times, first at the age of nineteen to an Englishman George Brown whom she only stayed married to for rwo years and then she married am American film director William Houston Price in 1941, however the couple split in 1953. in 1968, she wed again to Charles F. Blair Jr. and a couple years after marrying she decided to retire for the most part from acting and focus on her family life.
She returned back to working in film in 1991 when she starred in, "Only the Lonely" with John Candy, Ally Sheedy, Anthony Quinn and Jim Belushi, followed by some work on made for television movies such as, "The Christine Box" (1995), "Cab For Canada" (1998) also starring Jason Beghe, Catherine Bell, Haley Joel Osment and Efrem Zimbalist Jr. and "The Last Dance" (2000) co-starring Eric Stoltz, Trini Alvarado and Charles Robinson which was her last film to date portraying a retired high school teacher.
Maureen O'Hara curently resides in three homes, in Arizona, the Virgian Islands and Glengarriff, County Cork, Ireland.
1938 Kicking the Moon Around
1938 My Irish Molly
1939 Jamaica Inn
1939 The Hunchback of Notre Dame
1940 A Bill of Divorcement
1940 Dance, Girl, Dance
1941 They Met in Argentina
1941 How Green Was My Valley
1942 To the Shores of Tripoli
1942 Ten Gentlemen from West Point
1942 The Black Swan
1943 Immortal Sergeant
1943 This Land Is Mine
1943 The Fallen Sparrow
1944 Buffalo Bill
1945 The Spanish Main
1946 Sentimental Journey
1946 Do You Love Me
1947 Sinbad the Sailor
1947 The Homestretch
1947 Miracle on 34th Street
1947 The Foxes of Harrow
1948 Sitting Pretty
1949 A Woman's Secret
1949 The Forbidden Street
1949 Father was a Fullback
1950 Comanche Territory
1950 Rio Grande
1951 Flame of Araby
1952 At Sword's Point
1952 The Quiet Man
1952 Against All Flags
1953 The Redhead from Wyoming
1953 War Arrow
1955 The Long Gray Line
1955 The Magnificent Matador
1955 Lady Godiva of Coventry
1956 Everything But the Truth
1957 The Wings of Eagles
1959 Our Man in Havana
1961 The Deadly Companions
1961 The Parent Trap
1962 Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation
1963 Spencer's Mountain
1965 The Battle of the Villa Fiorita
1966 The Rare Breed
1970 How Do I Love Thee?
1971 Big Jake
1991 Only the Lonely
1994 A Century of Cinema