Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Tribute to the Golden Age of Cinema

I have just been reading Maureen O'Hara's Autobiography. Below is a brief overview of her life. I do love some of her old movies... I need to revisit some of them.... I particularly loved her with John Wayne..... they just seemed like a perfect match...
It was funny as I was reading it I could hear it as she would speak it if you know what I mean in her Irish accent...
I am a fan of most of the old movies... Even though you watch them and some of them are just so lame to us now they just have that olden day charm...

A Tribute to Maureen O'Hara
Maureen O'Hara was born in Ranelagh, Ireland, on August 17, 1920, as Maureen FitzSimons, the second oldest child of Charles and Marguerita FitzSimons. Though she was quite a tomboy as a small child, by the age of six she began to develop an interest in performing, so her mother sent her to "elocution" school. At 14, she was accepted to the famed Abbey Theater, and won just about every acting award her country offered.
While training at Abbey, Maureen was asked to do a screen test at Elstree Studios. It wasn't at all to her liking, but after Charles Laughton and his partner Eric Pommer, who owned a film company Mayflower Pictures, saw it, she was offered a 7-year contract with their company. After small parts in two films, she co-starred with Laughton in "Jamaica Inn," filmed in London, and then went to America to star in "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" at RKO studios. It was so successful that her contract was bought out by RKO. At the young age of 19, Maureen had starred in two major motion pictures with Charles Laughton, and was on her way to stardom.
Such was the impact of her red hair and beautiful eyes that Herbert T. Kalmus, inventor of the Technicolor process, would never hesitate to render a color commitment to a studio if he knew Maureen would be starring in the film! Kalmus used Maureen's image and coloring to literally sell his invention. She even became known as the "The Queen of Technicolor" after a series of flamboyant costume epics.
In 1941, John Ford cast her in "How Green Was My Valley," which began a friendship between Ford and O'Hara that resulted in four more films with him: "Rio Grande," "The Quiet Man," "Wings of Eagles" and "The Long Gray Line." Ford reportedly described her as "the best bloody actress in Hollywood." Her appearance with
John Wayne in "Rio Grande" also began a longtime relationship with the larger-than-life actor who easily matched her own powerful onscreen presence. They made five films together. She also starred in multiple pictures with Brian Keith, Jimmy Stewart, Anthony Quinn, Tyrone Power, Cornel Wilde, and John Payne, the latter in the beloved "Miracle on 34th Street." She had a reputation as a true professional.
Maureen "retired" from the movie business in the mid-sixties, but continued to appear on television through the 1970's, where she was able to showcase her singing talents. In 1968 she married General Charles Blair, a famous aviator, and in 1973, after making the TV movie "The Red Pony" with Henry Fonda, began a career as a full-time wife. She also helped her husband manage a commuter sea plane service in the Caribbean. After General Blair was killed in a plane crash in 1978, Maureen was elected CEO and President of Antilles Airboats, and became the first woman President of a scheduled airline in the USA. She now lives in St. Croix in the Virgin Islands. She came out of retirement in 1991 to appear with John Candy in "Only The Lonely," in 1995 to do a made-for-TV movie called "The Christmas Box," in 1998 in another TV movie entitled "Cab to Canada," and "The Last Dance," in 2000.


tales from an O.C. cottage said...

Toooooooo right! She was gorgeous!!!
My dad loved The Quiet Man because of her, so I have seen it a million times. Great post!

M ^..^

Lora said...

I've always enjoyed her movies, especially Miracle on 34th St. and the ones with John Wayne! I didn't know all of those fun facts though, thanks for sharing them:)

Lorri said...

My favorite all time movie is the Quiet Man. I can watch it for days. She is a wonderful actress and I miss her. I liked the newer movies she made, but the ones with the Duke were the best.