LOS ANGELES (AP) — Maureen O’Hara lit up Hollywood’s screens for decades, portraying strong, fearless women in a range of classics. O’Hara died in her sleep at her home in Boise, Idaho, at the age of 95, said Johnny Nicoletti, her longtime manager. Here are five things to know about the iconic actress.
PROUD IRISH HERITAGE
She was born Maureen FitzSimons (pronounced Fitz-SYM-ons) outside of Dublin, Ireland, and her family says she spent her life sharing her culture with the world. Her mother was a well-known opera singer and her father owned a string of soccer teams.
She became the first woman president of a scheduled airline in the United States, after inheriting Antilles Airboats from her third husband. Charles Blair died in a 1978 plane crash, and O’Hara ran the commuter sea plane service in the U.S. Virgin Islands for several years.
During her movie heyday, she was known as the “Queen of Technicolor” because of the camera’s love affair with her vivid red hair and pale complexion.
THE DUKE LOVED HER
She was John Wayne’s favorite leading lady and they appeared in five films together. Her favorite was 1952’s “The Quiet Man,” filmed in Ireland. In one scene, Wayne dragged her through a field that he and director John Ford had covered in sheep dung as a prank. Wayne once quipped that he preferred to work with men — “except for Maureen O’Hara; she’s a great guy.” Their other movies together were “Rio Grande” (1950), “The Wings of Eagles” (1957), “McClintock!” (1963) and “Big Jake” (1971).
A GYPSY’S PREDICTION
O’Hara begins her 2004 autobiography, “‘Tis Herself,'” by recalling that a Gypsy told her at the age of 5 that “You will leave Ireland one day and become a very famous woman known all around the world.'”
She was never nominated for an Oscar, but received an honorary Academy Award in 2014.