On this edition of Ron’s Amazing Blog, we tackle the amazing life of actress Maureen O’Hara. We will do this with a good old-fashioned game of True or False. Can you guess the answer before you read it?
We will start with this Truth: O’Hara’s birth name was Maureen FitzSimons. She was an Irish actress and singer. The famously red-headed O’Hara was known for playing fiercely passionate but sensible heroines, often in westerns and adventure films. She worked on numerous occasions with director John Ford, longtime friend John Wayne, and was one of the last surviving stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood.
Question 1 – Maureen was the only “Read-Head” in her family?
Oddly True: She states that she was “born into the most remarkable and eccentric family I could have possibly hoped for”. O’Hara was the second oldest of six children, and the only red-headed sibling in the family. Her father was in the clothing business and bought into Shamrock Rovers Football Club a team O’Hara supported from childhood.
Question 2 – She was quite the athlete and even played football?
True: O’Hara was so keen on Gaelic football that at one point she pressed her father to find a women’s team, and professed that Glenmalure Park, the home ground of the Rovers, became a second home. [Gaelic football is an Irish team sport. Players advance the football, a spherical leather ball, up the field with a combination of carrying, bouncing, kicking, hand-passing, and soloing. In the game, two types of scores are possible: points and goals.]
Question 3 – O’Hara had a black belt in Kung-fu and Taekwondo?
False: But you may be impressed to know that she enjoyed fighting, and trained in judo as a teenager. She later admitted that she had a jealousy towards boys in her youth. She hated the freedom they had. She said, “They could steal apples from orchards and not get into trouble.”
Question 4 – O’Hara first audition went famously bad!
True: During the screen test, the studio adorned her in a “gold lamé dress with flapping sleeves like wings” and heavy makeup with an ornate hairstyle, which she deemed to be far from satisfactory. O’Hara detested the audition, during which she had to walk in and pick up a telephone. She recalled thinking to herself, “My God, get me back to the Abbey”. The abbey is where she trained to act in her youth.
Question 5 – She did quite a few bit parts until had her first major role in 1939 with John Ford?
False: Well, that is almost true. O’Hara’s first major film role was that of Mary Yellen in the film, Jamaica Inn (1939). It was directed by Alfred Hitchcock. O’Hara portrayed the innkeeper’s niece, an orphan who goes to live with her aunt and uncle at a Cornish tavern.
Question 6 – O’Hara became known as the “Queen of Technicolor”?
True: She professed to dislike the filming process as it required special cameras and intense light which burned her eyes, giving her klieg eye. She believed that the nickname negatively affected her career, as most people viewed her solely as a beauty who looked good on film rather than as a talented actress. [ Klieg Eye – a condition marked by conjunctivitis and watering of the eyes resulting from excessive exposure to intense light.]
Question 7 – She was a superstar in every way!
True: As Ireland’s first Hollywood superstar, O’Hara paved the way for a future generation of actresses seeking their own voice. With her mahogany hair and her whip-smart delivery of lines, she created a character prototype that seemed to define her country of origin. She was loved for her naturalness and lack of the diva quality. She placed great emphasis on work ethic and punctuality. Insisting on doing her own stunts, O’Hara became so prone to injuries that her colleagues remarked that she should have been awarded the Purple Heart. Maureen O’Hara passed away peacefully on October 25th, 2015.
This Week’s Podcast:
On the podcast this week with will feature Maureen O’Hara and the date July 25th, 1943. Come and see how we will do this! You can listen to this podcast on Thursday at Ron’s Amazing Stories, download it from iTunes, stream it on Stitcher Radio or on the mobile version of Spotify. Do you prefer the radio? We are heard every Sunday Night at 8:00 PM (PST) on AMFM247.COM. Check your local listing or find the station closest to you at this link.
March 29 – The King of Bones and Ashes – RAS #321
April 05 – The Jovian Jest – RAS #322
April 12 – The White Rose Murders – RAS #323
April 19 – Science Fiction Week – RAS #324
April 26 – Listener Story Week – RAS #325