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Tis (Truly) Herself!
on November 11, 2013
Maureen O'Hara is one of the most striking actresses to have graced the silver screen. Her winning combination of beauty, charm, intelligence and earthiness made her a screen legend. Though she had her share of cinematic stinkers, she always gave it her all and movie-goers loved her. Yet, while O'Hara charmed audiences in films like HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY, MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET and THE QUIET MAN, her personal life was marked by marital strife and stress. Film critic Aubrey Malone offers up a critical yet affectionate biography of the 'Queen of Technicolor' in MAUREEN O'HARA THE BIOGRAPHY, a 2013 University Press of Kentucky release.
From an early age, the Dublin-born Maureen FitzSimons dreamed of being a stage actress. As a young child, she trained in drama, dance and music though her father insisted she learn business skills in case her theatrical ambitions didn't pan out. Charles Laughton, however, saw an audition tape of the ravishing 18-year old, offered her a contract and she was off to Hollywood. Her breakout film was JAMAICA INN (1939) followed by the HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME. John Ford's HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY (1941)confirmed O'Hara's status as an actress of note. Unfortunately, the raven-haired beauty was unlucky in love. A first marriage lasted two years, ending in an annullment in 1941. Soon after, she married William Price, a film director, who turned out to be an abusive alcoholic. Though the couple had a daughter, the marriage was a nightmare not ending till 1953. O'Hara hid the ugliness while her career took off. She starred in many fine films with co-stars like Tyrone Power, Errol Flynn and especially her friend John Wayne. In 1968, husband #3 - Charles Blair - brought happinesss but he was later killed in a plane crash after 10 years of bliss. O'Hara largely retired from acting after her marriage to Blair and eventually settled in Ireland.
Malone does a marvelous job of charting the life and times of this wondrous lady. Using material from a variety of sources, he fashions a true account of O'Hara's career in front of the camera and at home. In some cases, he corrects and amplifies on information found - or not found - in O'Hara's autobiography, HERE TIS.
Cinema fans will enjoy MAUREEN O'HARA THE BIOGRAPHY. It's an informative, balanced, affectionate tribute to a screen legend. Highly recemmended.