Treasure trove of Maureen O’Hara’s private possessions for sale
Secret love letters from The Quiet Man director John Ford thought to be most sought-after Personal belongings of one of Ireland’s biggest stars are to go up for sale, and such is the interest in the glamorous actress’ life they are thought to make up to €1 million (£853,000) at auction.
Quiet Man star Maureen O’Hara received many secret love letters from her director John Ford, which were written in the months leading up to filming. They are thought to be sold for a six-figure sum, as is a script of the film that O’Hara learnt her lines from and annotated heavily.
The 240-piece collection also includes some of O’Hara’s clothes from famous films, as well as jewellery and a ceramic mug. The actress passed away last year at the age of 95, after spending the last few years of her life in Idaho.
In a long-spanning career she made 64 films, and auction director Catherine Williamson said that she and a colleague rummaged through the boxes that were left in a warehouse to find some of these rare, and never-seen before items.
Williamson says that the previously unpublished letters from Ford were ‘so intimate and intense that O’Hara herself planned to destroy them upon her death, but in later years changed her mind’.
Irish Embassy feared protests over film
The Irish Embassy in Washington feared Irish-American protesters against the 1952 film The Quiet Man, according to newly-discovered documents.
There were concerns that the prevalence of drinking and fighting in the film – which was shot in County Galway and County Mayo – would not have gone down well with such an audience.
Counsellor Joseph Brennan wrote to the Irish government’s Department of External Affairs to express his fears, according to The Irish Times. He asked for officials in Ireland to gauge the response to the film there before sending another note which specifically warned of potential protesting.
“If it were to be taken completely at its face value it would be accepted as a rollicking farce and no harm done,” Mr Brennan wrote. “But I fear it will be regarded by the Irish-American element here as purporting to portray actual life in Ireland. We may then have protests.”
The film, which was directed by John Ford and starred John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara, has been conserved in the US National Film Registry for its “cultural, historical or aesthetic significance”. It won Oscars for Best Director and Best Cinematography and, despite Mr Brennan’s concerns, he described it as “beautiful” and possessing “delightful” scenery.
O’Hara, meanwhile, called it “the first great movie about Ireland” and said it remained popular because it is “a simple and timeless story about people in love”.