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'Tis Herself: An Autobiography Paperback – March 1, 2005
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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"A great page-turner, a well-told saga."
-- The Hollywood Reporter
"This feisty memoir shows there's more to O'Hara than red hair and green eyes."
-- Kirkus Reviews
"Lots of revealing, candid moments from inside Hollywood."
-- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
"A delightful anecdotal autobiography....O'Hara treats readers like close friends, and her powerful personality is evident throughout."
-- Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Maureen O'Hara has starred in more than sixty motion pictures. She divides her time between the United States, Ireland, and St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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Not only does this book tell you Maureen's life story in her own words, it also gives you insight into the world of the Golden Age of Hollywood and behind the scenes stories about the films that O'Hara worked on. I found this book to be unique because in it Maureen provided personal opinions and insights on several Legends that she befriended/worked with, some showing a side that fans have never heard of or read about before, especially in regards to Legendary director John Ford. And of course, as a huge John Wayne fan, I also adored the beautiful, touching tribute that Maureen gave to him in this book.
And so she was.
She was born August 17, 1920 and named Maureen FitzSimons. Her family was a large, happy one, prominent in Ireland. As I read the story of her wonderful family, her early acting successes and her many professional opportunities, contrasted with her first two dismal marriages to unworthy men, I kept thinking of that book, Smart Women, Foolish Choices. We’ve all been there and my heart went out to her. She didn’t love the first two men she married (the first marriage was annulled and her second husband was, in her words, an “abusive alcoholic”). But she did come out of the second with a daughter, Bronwyn, who she loved.
Maureen rose to stardom in the era when studios owned the talent and could force a star like Maureen O’Hara to make movies that showcased her beauty instead of her acting talent. She hated it.
She came to Hollywood as a teenager in 1939, brought by the great Charles Laughton, who became her mentor and friend, and with whom she appeared in the classic film The Hunchback of Notre Dame. At one point he asked her parents if he could adopt her.
The Second World War trapped her in the US for many years and she missed Ireland and her family. But ultimately she came to be proud of her adopted country and became a dual citizen of Ireland and America (and that was another story!).
Her favorite movie of all those she made was, not surprisingly, The Quiet Man. Her telling of the making of the movie justifies buying the book. Her co-star, John Wayne, was a good friend and they got along very well with great on screen chemistry, in part, she believed, because of her height (5'8") in contrast to many actresses with whom the studios paired the Duke. The movie was directed by John Ford, a difficult, if not twisted, genius, who often treated the actors—including Maureen—very badly. Her relationship with him, which extended over many years, was problematic.
There is nothing like hearing someone’s story in their own words and this candid telling of her life is no exception. She is frank in her assessments of the people she knew and lays the truth out “to set the record straight… before some self-serving writer pens a heap of rubbish about me after I am gone from this earth.”
I was very happy to finally read of Maureen’s finding true love with Charles F. Blair, Jr., an airline pilot who had been a Brigadier General in the Air Force. He was the great love of her life. Unfortunately, after ten years together, he died in a mysterious plane crash.
She was a fascinating woman who lived in interesting times... a woman I would have loved to know.
I think that my Baby Boomer generation adored Maureen O'Hara, and still do, as one of the greatest actress who graced the Hollywood screen. Little did we know that behind Miss O'Hara's presence on the screen as a strong feisty, proud, loving & passionate person, she was plagued & surrounded with a lot of misery, uncertainty, jealousy, & those who plotted to try to bring her & those she loved down to their knees. She survived years of abuse by her first husband who was an alcoholic & abusive & self destructive person, & then only to survive being stalked & pursued by an undermining major Hollywood director who's mental fixation on her could have destroyed not only her career but her life & family as well. She was under so much pressure & scrutiny that if it wasn't for her good ole Irish stubbornness, pride and her inner strength to survive, she would have been consumed and spit out by those mucky mucks behind the Hollywood Machine & the secrecy that lurks behind the walls of the Pentagon in Washington DC that knew more about her than she knew herself. The powers to be of Washington DC tried to manipulate her life by ultimately destroying the love of her life, her late husband, Charles Blair, an American Aviation legend as it is still questionable to this day as to how & why Charles Blair really died. Was it because he knew too much & our government wanted him out of the picture because they had no more use for him and wanted their secret missions given a permanent grave. Miss O'Hara still struggles with that even today.
She is living her life as most of us would like to live our lives, with dignity & respect, sincere love & loyalty for family & friends and not afraid to stand up for what you believe even though at times the odds are stacked against you. Needless to say, I loved the book & Miss O'Hara and yet I would still welcome another book from her as I'm certain she definitely has more to entertain & intrigue us with! Miss O'Hara, you are timeless in my book!
Thank you Miss O'Hara for sharing a significant portion of your life with us. The Top of The Morn'in to you!