Maureen O’Hara, the Irish movie star who appeared in classics ranging from “How Green Was My Valley” to the legendary Christmas film, “Miracle on 34th Street” and partnered unforgettably with John Wayne in several films passed away Saturday. She was 95.
Her family released a statement saying “She passed peacefully surrounded by her loving family as they celebrated her life listening to music from her favorite movie, ‘The Quiet Man,'”.
“As an actress, Maureen O’Hara brought unyielding strength and sudden sensitivity to every role she played. Her characters were feisty and fearless, just as she was in real life. She was also proudly Irish and spent her entire lifetime sharing her heritage and the wonderful culture of the Emerald Isle with the world,” said a family biography.
O’Hara came to Hollywood to star in the 1939 “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and went on to a long career.
During the peak of her career , she became known as the Queen of Technicolor because the camera connected so well with her vivid red hair , pale complexion, and bold blue eyes. After her start in Hollywood with “Hunchback” and some minor films at RKO, she was borrowed by 20th Century Fox to play the young daughter in the 1941 saga of a coal-mining family, “How Green Was My Valley.”
The popularity of “How Green Was My Valley” confirmed O’Hara’s status as a Hollywood star. RKO and Fox shared her contract, and her most successful films were made at Fox. Her most notable films included “Miracle on 34th Street,” the classic 1947 Christmas story in which O’Hara was little Natalie Wood’s skeptical mother and among those charmed by Edmund Gwenn as a man who believed he was Santa Claus.
In 1968, she married her third husband, Brig. General Charles Blair. After “Big Jake,” she quit movies to live with him in the Virgin Islands, where he operated an airline, and they traveled the world together. He died in a plane crash in 1978.
Her comeback arrived in 1991 where she starred in “Only the Lonely.” Over the following decade, she did three TV movies: “The Christmas Box,” based on a best-selling book, a perennial holiday attraction; “Cab to Canada,” a road picture; and “The Last Dance.”
She is survived by her daughter, Bronwyn FitzSimons of Glengarriff, Ireland; her grandson, Conor FitzSimons of Boise, Idaho, where O’hara spent the last years of her life, and two great-grandchildren, according to her obituary.