Maureen O'Hara, 'Queen of Technicolor,' dies at 95
Maureen O'Hara died on Saturday, of undisclosed causes, at her home in Boise, Idaho. One of the last surviving stars from the Golden Age of Cinema, O'Hara was 95 years old.
O'Hara appeared in over 50 films between her 1938 debut (Kicking the Moon Around) and her final big-screen performance in 1991's Only the Lonely (the latter with John Candy, "one of my all-time favorite leading men").
Known for playing strong characters, especially in period films, O'Hara earned the moniker "Queen of Technicolor" because her red hair and green eyes dazzled so strikingly on the screen.
Among O'Hara's best-known roles were the mother of young Virginia in Miracle on 34th Street (1947), the stubborn beau of John Wayne in The Quiet Man (1952), and the mother of Hayley Mills's twins in the original Parent Trap (1961).
Born in Ireland in 1920, O'Hara trained as a stage actress and signed with Mayflower Pictures after her screen test caught the eye of the company's co-founder, actor Charles Laughton. She ultimately earned dual citizenship in Ireland and the U.S., spending most of her retirement in her native country until moving back to the U.S. in 2012.
Though she was never personally nominated for an Oscar, she appeared in multiple highly-honored films—including Best Picture winner How Green Was My Valley (1941). O'Hara was presented with an honorary Academy Award last year, and she has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Presenting O'Hara's honorary Oscar, Liam Neeson said, "For anyone anywhere around the world who loves movies, she is more than simply an Irish movie star, she is one of the true legends of cinema. A woman whose skill and range of talent is unsurpassed."
O'Hara was married thrice. Her third husband, Charles F. Blair, Jr., was an aviator who ran a small airline called Antilles Air Boats; upon his death in a 1978 plane crash, O'Hara was named the airline's president, making her the first American woman to run a scheduled airline. She's survived by one daughter, one grandson, and two great-grandchildren.
In her final moments, O'Hara and her family were soothed by a beloved film score. "She passed peacefully," according to a statement, "surrounded by her loving family as they celebrated her life listening to music from her favorite movie, The Quiet Man."