Maureen O’Hara (born Maureen FitzSimons; 17 August 1920 – 24 October 2015) was an Irish-American actress and singer. The famously red-headed O’Hara was known for playing fiercely passionate but sensible heroines, and often worked with director John Ford and longtime friend John Wayne. She was one of the last surviving stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood.
From an early age, she wanted to become an actress and took lessons. She was given a screen test, which was deemed unsatisfactory, but Charles Laughton saw something in her when he later saw it. He arranged for her to co-star with him in the 1939 British film Jamaica Inn. She also co-starred with him in the Hollywood production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, released the same year. From there, she went on to enjoy a long and highly successful career. She made a number of films with John Wayne – the actor with whom she is most closely associated – and director John Ford, often both together in the same production; several were westerns, a notable exception being The Quiet Man (1952). She also starred in swashbucklers such as The Black Swan (1942), opposite Tyrone Power, and Sinbad the Sailor (1947), with Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., as well as the Christmas classic Miracle on 34th Street (1947), with John Payne, Natalie Wood and Edmund Gwenn.
Although O’Hara was never nominated for a competitive Academy Award, in November 2014 she was presented with an Honorary Academy Award with the inscription “To Maureen O’Hara, one of Hollywood’s brightest stars, whose inspiring performances glowed with passion, warmth and strength”. After Myrna Loy, O’Hara was only the second actress to receive an Academy Award for acting without having been nominated previously. Her autobiography, ‘Tis Herself, was published in 2004 and was a New York Times Bestseller.