Birth Name: Maureen FitzSimons
Born on August 17, 1920 in Dublin, Ireland.
O’Hara was born in Ireland and acted from an early age. By the time she was 14, she was receiving awards in festivals and drama contests. She made her stage debut with the Abbey Players of Dublin and went to the London stage in 1938. Hitchcock gave her a role in the 1939 movie Jamaica Inn with Charles Laughton. Laughton brought her to Hollywood to play Esmeralda in his next picture The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939). Successful from the first, her next big hit was Ford’s How Green Was My Valley (1941). Films with swashbuckler and films made in technicolor only increased her popularity. Whether it was Fairbanks, Jr. in Sinbad the Sailor (1947) or even back to Power in The Black Swan (1942), the combination was great. Maureen was not afraid of doing her own stunt work. She was the picture of health, the picture of beauty with her flowing red hair, and with the fire to stand up to any man – she was not a shrinking violet. In Ford’s The Quiet Man (1952), she would easily hold her own against John Wayne. A versatile actress, she could play dramatic roles like Miracle on 34th Street (1947) and work well in westerns Rio Grande (1950). She fit right in with the big boys and was a favorite of John Ford and John Wayne. By the sixties, her roles were of the mature woman – even if she still had the temper as in McLintock! (1963). In the mid-sixties, Maureen would retire from the screen and would return only to do a few roles around 1970. She retired with her husband and lived a quieter life away from Hollywood. After the passing of her husband, she returned to the screen as John Candy’s mother in Only the Lonely (1991).