Born in 1920
Maureen O'Hara (born 17 August 1920) is an Irish film actress and singer. The famous red-head has been noted for playing fiercely passionate heroines with a highly sensible attitude. She often worked with John Ford and longtime friend John Wayne.
In addition to her acting skills, O'Hara had a soprano voice and described singing as her first love. The studio heads never capitalised on her musical talent, as she was already big box office in other genres of film. However, she was able to channel her love of singing through television. In the late 50s and early 60s, she was a guest on musical variety shows with Andy Williams and Betty Grable. In 1960, she starred on Broadway in the musical Christine which ran for 12 performances. That year she released two successful recordings, Love Letters from Maureen O'Hara and Maureen O'Hara Sings her Favorite Irish Songs. Love Letters from Maureen O'Hara has been released and is now out of print.
An icon of Hollywood's Golden Age, at the height of her career, O'Hara was considered one of the world's most beautiful women. She is often remembered for her onscreen chemistry with John Wayne. They made five films together between 1948 and 1972 : Rio Grande, The Quiet Man, Wings of Eagles, McLintock and Big Jake. A clip of O'Hara's radiant face as she waves from a gate in John Ford's Academy Award-winning How Green Was My Valley, remains one of the most classic images preserved on film and is often featured as a clip in montages and promotions.
Her first major film was Jamaica Inn (1939) directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Laughton was so pleased with O'Hara's performance that he cast her in the role of Esmeralda opposite him in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939), which was to be filmed at RKO Studios in Hollywood that same year. After the successful completion of Hunchback, World War II began, and Laughton, realising that their studio could no longer film in London, sold O'Hara's contract to RKO. That studio cast her in low-budget films until she was rescued by director John Ford, who cast her in How Green Was My Valley, which won the 1941 Academy Award for Best Picture. Six years later, in 1947, she made what is perhaps her best-remembered film, starring as Doris Walker and the mother of a young Natalie Wood in 20th Century Fox's Miracle on 34th Street, which, despite being released in May, has become a perennial Christmas classic, with a traditional network television airing every Thanksgiving Day on NBC. The film also helped to further establish O'Hara's career after the film garnered several awards, including an Academy Award Nomination for Best Picture.