Beloved fiery Irish actress Maureen O’Hara died aged 95 on Saturday at her home in Boise, Idaho where she lived with her daughter Bronwyn.
In John Ford’s 1952 Irish film ‘The Quiet Man’ O’Hara starred as fiery red-headed Mary Kate Danaher whose head strong, independent nature catches the eye of Sean Thornton, played by John Wayne.
O’Hara gained the admiration of both men and women across the world for both her beauty and her brazen manner. At their second meeting Wayne tries to kiss her, and she swings for him. “Watch that scene, and you’ll see Duke put his hand up,” O’Hara once said. “He deflects my blow because he knew me so well. He knew I was for real. I was hitting him.”
O’Hara was born Maureen FitzSimons, the second of six children, in a suburb of Dublin. Her mother was an accomplished contralto, and her father, a businessman, part-owned Shamrock Rovers football team.
“We grew up on sport and music. All the great singers that would come to visit Dublin would come to our house for a musical evening,” she said. “We six kids, we used to sit at the top of the stairs and listen.”
Last month O’Hara’s Co. Cork house Lugdine Park estate was sold, after an asking price of €1,850,000.
Johnny Nicoletti, her longtime manager, confirmed her death.
Ms. O’Hara was called the Queen of Technicolor, because when that film process first came into use, she was considered the embodiment of animated colour.
In 2011 O’Hara was named president of the Universal Film & Festival Organization (UFFO) which promotes a code of conduct for film festivals and the film industry.
In 2004, she was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Irish Film and Television Academy in her native Dublin.
In 2014, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences selected O’Hara to receive the Academy’s Honorary Oscar, to be presented at the annual Governor’s Awards in November.
O’Hara also starred in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1939), the Oscar-winning “How Green Was My Valley” (1941), “This Land Is Mine” (1943), and “Miracle on 34th Street” (1947), among many others.