TRIBUTES HAVE flooded in online for Maureen O’Hara on what would have been the Irish Hollywood legend’s 100th birthday.
A true icon of the big screen, O’Hara passed away, aged 95, in October 2015 – but her legacy lives on.
Born in Ranelagh, Dublin, on August 17, 1920, Maureen Fitzsimons grew up as the eldest of six children - and the only redhead - in a busy Irish household.
While her father, Charlie ,was a businessman and one-time owner of Shamrock Rovers, her mother, Marguerite, enjoyed a career as a stage actress and opera singer.
— Molly McNair (@noirgal17) August 17, 2020
Maureen O'Hara (August 17, 1920 - October 24, 2015).
The Quiet Man (1952) John Ford.
Maureen O'Hara, John Wayne.
Memories of Innisfree. pic.twitter.com/ueEl9b5a52
— Juan Ferrer (@JuanFerrerVila) August 17, 2020
A precocious child who lobbied her father to star a women's Shamrock Rovers team and practiced martial arts, Maureen believed women should have access to the same things men got to enjoy in life.
Though her father lobbied her to pursue a career in business, Maureen ended up following in her mother’s footsteps, after showing a talent for singing and dancing from an early age.
As a teenager, she trained at the famous Abbey Theatre and held ambitions of becoming a world-famous opera singer before pursuing a career in the movies.
Her big break came aged just 17, when she caught the eye of Oscar-winning actor and producer Charles Laughton during an audition for a film that didn't even end up getting made.
— Sergio Rodríguez (@Sergiofordy) August 17, 2020
Happy Birthday Maureen O'Hara. Born on the 17th of August 1920. She died at 95 years old in 2015. pic.twitter.com/Id6lVY4TuX
— Masquerade (@Masquerade2376) August 17, 2020
It was Laughton who convinced her to change her surname to O’Hara and launched her career in Hollywood with a role in Alfred Hitchcock’s Jamaica Inn.
While the film got average reviews, O'Hara was tipped for stardom.
From there she landed a coveted contract with RKO Studios, with the rest being, as they say history.
Fondly remembered for her incredibly range and status as a strong-willed feminist icon of the big screen, O’Hara’s Irish complexion, fiery red hair and green eyes saw her earn the nickname the "Queen of Technicolor."
— Hollywood Golden Age of Cinema (@HGACinema) August 17, 2020
— Dr. Jeffrey Guterman (@JeffreyGuterman) August 17, 2020
While many fans will recall her role in the holiday classic Miracle on 34th Street or as the Welsh daughter of a mining family in the drama How Green Was My Valley, to Irish fans her best work remains The Quiet Man opposite John Wayne.
And despite forging a career in Hollywood, Maureen never lost sight of her Irish heritage, regularly making trips back to Ireland to see friends and family.
It was during one of these trips, in 1947, that she met her future husband, Charles Blair, who happened to be piloting the plane taking her home.
Remembering Maureen O'Hara pic.twitter.com/BGe5GkbePl
— What are you giving me with the flying fish 💙 (@RomanPBone1) August 17, 2020
Happy Birthday Maureen O'Hara, #BornonthisDay Aug 17, 1920.
Not to be underestimated in Hitchcock's JAMAICA INN, as young Mary (here with Jem played by Robert Newton). Jamaica Inn was co-scripted by Joan Harrison.
It's #MaureenOHara day on #TCM #SummerUnderTheStars @tcm pic.twitter.com/1DqH3Fe8DC
— phantomlady (@phantomlady15) August 17, 2020
The pair married, years later, though Charles tragically died in an air crash over the Caribbean in 1978.
When O’Hara passed away in 2015, it was her dying wish that she be buried in the same grave as her husband at Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington in the US. That wish was granted in 2015.
A true one of the silver screen, birthday tributes have flooded across social media for O’Hara who received an honorary Oscar in 2014, just one year prior to her passing.
Special celebration to mark centenary of Maureen O'Hara's birth.
The Quiet Man (John Ford, 1952).
Sean and Mary Kate's Wedding Day.#MaureenOHara #MaureenOHara100#JohnWayne #VictorMcLaglen #BarryFitzgerald pic.twitter.com/6Tt3PUqcQX
— Albert Galera (@AlbertGalera) August 17, 2020
A true one-off. Happy birthday, Maureen.