Maureen O’Hara died in her sleep at home surrounded by her family and listening to the music of her favorite movie, “The Quiet Man.” The Irish actress with the flaming red hair created magic on the silver screen as John Wayne’s verbal sparring partner in that favorite iconic movie of hers.
Besides “The Quiet Man,” O’Hara went on to make several movies where her romantic bantering with John Wayne was seemingly done without effort. The natural intensity of their love-hate verbal sparring has yet to be duplicated by another set of Hollywood stars.
John Wayne once said that he preferred to work with men, “except for Maureen O’Hara; she’s a great guy,” reports MSN News on October 24.
Even the grumpy director John Ford was said to “melt” in her presence. O’Hara appeared in a few movies before breaking into the big time with the 1941 movie, “How Green was My Valley.” That was her first really iconic role after arriving in Hollywood for her first gig in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”
The New York Times recalls how she was dubbed the “Queen of Technicolor” because her red hair was so vibrant and striking on the silver screen. America started an immediate love affair with the actress in “The Quiet Man.”
O’Hara, who was all Irish and so proud of her heritage, once spoke about how she met Wayne through Ford and how the two, “hit it off right away.” She added that “I adored him, and he loved me. But we were never sweethearts. Never, ever.” She also appeared in “The Wings of Eagles” (1957), “McClintock!” (1963) and “Big Jake” (1971) with Wayne.
Her films with Wayne were just the tip of the iceberg when it came to her career where she had roles ranging from playing Natalie Wood’s mother in “Miracle on 34th Street” (1947) to Disney’s “The Parent Trap” (1961). She’s starred in pirate movies, westerns, comedies and dramas opposite almost every A-list heartthrob of the day.
Maureen O’Hara was born in 1920 near Dublin, Ireland, to an opera singing mom and a dad who owned a string of sports teams. She had five siblings.
Married three times, her last husband, who ran an airline out of the Virgin Islands, died in 1978 in a plane crash. O’Hara called her time with her late husband, Brig. Gen Charles Blair, “the best time of her life.” She hung up her acting shoes to move to the Virgin Islands and after his death she ran his airline and then eventually sold the business and came back to Hollywood movies.
MSN reports on her private life bio which includes:
“Her first husband was director George Hanley Brown, whom she met while making “Jamaica Inn.” When she moved to Hollywood, he remained in England and the marriage was annulled. In 1941, she married a tall, handsome director, Will Price, and they had a daughter, Bronwyn, in 1944.”
O’Hara said of that marriage: “The marriage was a terrible mistake, and we divorced in 1952.” She remained single until she married Blair in 1968 as her third and last husband. It would appear that Blair was her soul-mate.