Tributes flood in for Maureen O’Hara on what would have been her 100th birthday

Tributes flood in for Maureen O’Hara on what would have been her 100th birthday

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. 

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.

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." 

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. 

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. 

A true one-off. Happy birthday, Maureen.