Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Happy Birthday to Maureen O'Hara

Maureen O'Hara, one of the most delightful actresses of this or any year, turns 90 years old today.

Miss O'Hara was born in Ireland on this date in 1920. A few years ago she chronicled her life in the excellent autobiography 'TIS HERSELF: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY, written with John Nicoletti.

O'Hara's career was mentored by Charles Laughton, her costar in JAMAICA INN (1939), a British Hitchcock film, and THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (1939).

Her career quickly took off in the United States, including DANCE, GIRL, DANCE (1940), HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY (1941), and THE BLACK SWAN (1942), with one of her favorite costars, Tyrone Power.

O'Hara's many classic films include SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY (1946), the Christmas evergreen MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET (1947), John Ford's THE LONG GRAY LINE (1955), where she again costarred with Tyrone Power, and Disney's THE PARENT TRAP (1961).

O'Hara appeared in several films with her good friend John Wayne, beginning with John Ford's terrific (and perhaps underrated) Calvary story RIO GRANDE (1950). The feisty O'Hara was an excellent match for Wayne, a giant of a movie star. Their most important film together was doubtless THE QUIET MAN (1952), which they had planned with John Ford for many years. The filming was a family affair, including O'Hara's two brothers, Charles FitzSimons and James Lilburn, Wayne's children, and Ford's brother and son-in-law among the large cast.

O'Hara also had the chance to showcase her lovely singing voice in THE QUIET MAN.

O'Hara has an exceptionally sharp memory, and her detailed reminisces can be heard on DVD commentary tracks for THE QUIET MAN, RIO GRANDE, THE BLACK SWAN, and MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET.

Turner Classic Movies is honoring O'Hara's birthday today with a 24-hour marathon of her films as part of their Summer Under the Stars festival.

Last night a birthday special aired in Ireland honoring their native daughter, featuring an interview with O'Hara in her home in Ireland. It can be seen on the web until September 6th and runs 25 minutes. (Hat tip: Maureen O'Hara Magazine.)

I hope one of my favorite actresses is enjoying a special day today, and I wish her many more happy birthdays to come.

Update: A birthday tribute from Big Hollywood.

2013 Update: This year I've posted a new birthday tribute with several more links to reviews of O'Hara's films.

2015 Update: A new tribute to Maureen O'Hara, who has passed away.


Blogger Irene said...

I just finished reading her autobiography which I got from the library. She is certainly a strong, feisty lady! I also just purchased on sale one of my favorite movies "How Green Was My Valley".

5:23 PM  
Blogger Leigh Ann said...

Thank you for posting this. Ms. O'Hara has brought me much joy thru her movies, esp. the ones with John Wayne. What a beautiful woman, inside and out.
Thanks again.
(Watching her now on TCM!)

7:27 PM  
Blogger A said...

Maureen O'Hara is such a stong, gorgeous woman. Happy Birthday to a living legend. Loved her today on TCM.

8:11 PM  
Blogger paul said...

Wow, we were watchnig "Rio Grand" just last night and wondering if it was her birthday or something, since every movie had her in it. And every movie was, coincidently, a winner. Thanks for the new on one of our favorite screen personalities.

7:01 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Isn't RIO GRANDE wonderful? It's one of my favorites. :)

Best wishes,

8:54 PM  

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