Maureen O'Hara Biography
Actress/singer Maureen O’Hara is still going strong. She is best known in her films starring opposite John Wayne although she has made other movies.
Maureen Fitzsimons was born on August 17, 1920 in Ranelagh, a suburb of Dublin, Ireland. She is the second oldest child of six. All six children were in the performing arts. At the age of six, Miss O’Hara developed an interest in acting. She organized neighborhood shows that were played in her backyard. Her brothers and sisters were the cast members of these productions. While her interest in acting and singing remained intent, her parents sent her to the elocution school. At fourteen years of age, she was accepted in the famed Abbey Theater. While she trained at the Abbey, Miss O’Hara won just about every acting award Ireland offered. Other than playing on a girl’s soccer team her dream was to be a stage actress or opera singer, not a film star. Her father was a bit practical and insisted that his daughter take secretarial courses just in case her career didn’t work out in the acting profession.
This beautiful red head grew up to be a movie star that made films opposite John Wayne. Onscreen they were dubbed a legendary couple while off screen their relationship was strictly platonic.
In 1939, Miss O’Hara was starring in a movie by Alfred Hitchcock when Charles Laughton discovered her. He then brought her to Hollywood and cast her in the film "The Hunchback of Notre Dame." Because her name was too long for the marquee, it was agreed that her last name would be changed from FitzSimons to O’Hara.
While her roles starring opposite actor John Wayne are most formidable in our minds, she was cast as the mother in the original film "Miracle on 34th Street" which also starred child actress Natalie Wood who played her daughter. In 1961, she was cast in Disney’s movie "Parent Trap" with Haley Mills and Brian Keith.
Miss O’Hara acted in over fifty-five movies in her sixty-year acting career. Her screen presence has always been one of a very strong woman and her roles have never wavered from this identity.
In 1968, Maureen O’Hara married General Blair who was a famous aviator that was a friend of her family for many years. She remained married to him until his death in 1978 when he died in a plane crash.
Maureen O'Hara was selected to be Grand Marshal of the New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade 1999. She was also honored at the Sixteenth Annual Helen Hayes Gala in New York City on November 23, 1998.
Miss O’Hara resides at her home in St. Croix in the Virgin Islands. She also spends time in New York, and Los Angeles, California as well as Ireland.