Saturday, October 24, 2015
Remembering Maureen O'Hara
As a child, I first set eyes on Ms O'Hara when watching tv's Million Dollar Movie. The film was 1939's The Hunchback of Notre Dame, opposite Charles Laughton as Quasimodo. O'Hara was Esmerelda.
Growing up, what did I know from gypsies except that, when I misbehaved, my mother said she was going to sell me to them? So, for me, an Irish colleen passed for gypsy! Why not? If I'd been sold to Maureen O'Hara, maybe it wouldn't be such a rough deal, I thought.
Hunchback was Maureen's second movie. Her first was Jamaica Inn (and no, she didn't play a Jamaican), directed by Alfred Hitchcock and, again, O'Hara starred opposite Laughton. It was Charles Laughton, after all, who discovered her for the movies. Watching her screen test, Laughton was struck by the Abbey-trained actress' very expressive eyes, which she used most effectively throughout her career.
The other movie I loved, starring Ms. O'Hara, was The Quiet Man, a classic I watch almost every St Patty's Day. Her chemistry with John Wayne in that film is simply remarkable. O'Hara and Wayne remained lifelong friends. And, rumor has it, possibly more than just friends.
Last year, the actress received an honorary Academy Award.
RIP, Maureen O'Hara. Sanctuary!