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Maureen O’Hara dies at her home – Ireland pays tribute

Maureen O’Hara – one of Ireland’s greatest Hollywood stars – has died at the age of 95. Her family said she passed away peacefully in her sleep at her home in the United States.

The star of such classics as the Quiet Man and How Green Was My Valley was at the peak of her career during Hollywood’s golden age of the 1940s and 1950s, often appearing with legendary figures like Henry Fonda and John Wayne, who was one of her closest friends for many years.

Her family issued a statement saying: “It is with a sad heart that we share the news that Maureen O’Hara passed away today in her sleep of natural causes.
Maureen O’Hara passed away today at her home RIP Tributes from Ireland
“Maureen was our loving mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and friend. She passed peacefully surrounded by her loving family as they celebrated her life listening to music from her favourite movie, The Quiet Man.

“Her characters were feisty and fearless, just as she was in real life. She was also proudly Irish and spent her entire lifetime sharing her heritage and the wonderful culture of the Emerald Isle with the world. Later in life, she became the first woman president of a commercially scheduled airline in the United States.

“As much as Maureen cherished her privacy, she always appreciated the expressions of good will from people around the world and from all walks of life. She especially loved it when children recognised her from her role in Miracle on 34th Street and asked her: ‘Are you the lady who knows Santa Claus?’ She always answered: ‘Yes I am. What would you like me to tell him?’”

‘Visit Ireland one day and think of her’

“While we mourn the loss of a very wonderful woman, we also celebrate her remarkable life and hope that it serves as an example to young people around the world, especially in Ireland, to work hard to make their dreams come true and to always have the courage to stand up for themselves.

“For those who may ask what they can do to honour Maureen, we have a simple request: visit Ireland one day and think of her.”

President Michael D Higgins heard the news while on an eight-day official visit to the United States.  He said: “I have learned with great sadness of the death of the actress Maureen O’Hara. She will be remembered as an outstanding and versatile actress, whose work especially in film, will endure for many years to come.

“She received her early training at the Abbey Theatre (in Dublin), and went on to become an artist whose talents were recognised and appreciated all around the world.

“I especially remember with affection her recent visit to Áras an Uachtaráin, when we discussed among other things her great love of Ireland and her strong family links to Shamrock Rovers (soccer team).”

Maureen was the quintessential Irish success story

Ireland’s Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys described Maureen O’Hara her as one of the most internationally acclaimed Irish actors of the 20th century.

She told RTE: “Maureen O’Hara left Ireland to carve a successful life in America but in the hearts and minds of every Irish person, Maureen was the quintessential Irish success story. She went on to become one of the icons of Hollywood’s golden age at the height of her career.

“Maureen had a hugely successful career spanning over 60 years. She will however be best remembered for her fiercely passionate roles in classic films and in particular the films she made with her great friend John Wayne.

“It was in her role as Mary Kate Danaher in The Quiet Man, the iconic film made over 60 years ago and still very much celebrated in Ireland and abroad, that we were first alerted to her natural beauty and talent.”

Ms O’Hara’s manager Johnny Nicoletti said she had “a wicked sense of humour and never took her good fortunes for granted. “She was a classy, warm, feisty, funny woman and she was always so proudly Irish.”

She never revealed what she said to shock John Wayne

He told the Irish Times that she kept her promise never to reveal what she whispered in John Wayne’s ear at the end of The Quiet Man to make him give that look of shock and surprise.

The film’s director John Ford asked her to say a particular sentence that would knock Wayne off his guard. Only the three of them knew what it was and they all promised never to reveal it.

Mr Nicoletti said “I tried to get it out of her but she said, ‘We all made a promise.’ She held it and took it to the grave. All three of them took it to the grave.”

Ms O’Hara’s home Co cork where she lived for many years was sold earlier this for a reported €1.6 million.

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Ms O’Hara will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, DC, next to her husband, Charles Blair who died in a plane crash in 1978.

Some of Ms O’Hara’s major roles included The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Miracle of 34th Street, the Parent Trap and Only the Lonely. But she will perhaps be best remembered in Ireland and among Irish Americans for her performance alongside John Wayne in the Quiet Man. It helped to catapult the tiny village of Cong, where some of the film was made, into tourist attraction visited by hundreds of thousands of people every year.

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10 thoughts on “Maureen O’Hara dies at her home – Ireland pays tribute

  1. Jeanie Coolahan

    I always loved Maureen O’Hara. She, to me, was the epitome of being Irish. I feel like I lost a member of my family. May this grand lady rest in peace on The Other Side.

    12/11/2015 at 9:09 pm
  2. Tally Haugen

    WHat a MAGNIFICENT Fair LADY she was! What a long “Roll of the dice” too..She knew JOY that most people only dream about, and had a beautiful singing voice as well ! How lucky we are to have had her walk among us for these many years, and how lucky will be the future generations who discover her..Blessings to a RADIANT “Flower of Ireland”, already dearly missed…

    25/10/2015 at 11:45 pm
  3. Celestine Browne

    Maureen O Hara was a great representative of the women of Ireland. Everyone of her era looked up to her. She will keep alive for future generations the strength of the women of her day. We all loved her and followed her through the years. She will be remembered forever. Rest In Peace Maureen.

    25/10/2015 at 10:41 am
  4. Lesley Mansfield

    Only watched The Quiet Man yesterday. Lovely lady and wonderful actress. Sleep peacefully x

    25/10/2015 at 9:25 am
  5. Tamarhi

    My momma would make spaghetti and meatloaf………we would watch Parent trap……… gosh one of mommy’s favorites………………I now appreciate and the house of boys they know at least who you were…………

    25/10/2015 at 6:01 am
  6. Tamarhi

    A very beautiful lady and sooooo the SPARK!!!!!!! I loved watching all the movies you were in and bless my mother she made me watch and appreciate………. sorry for the loss to the family and your dearest and close friends and to the family members the young and old alike who remember when and those wow she was ours…………..I am soooo sorry for for yours and our alls loss……..

    25/10/2015 at 5:52 am
  7. Carmel

    Maureen, thank you for all the pleasure you have given us. I too came from Ireland and was very proud to get to know through your movies another spirited Irishwoman. Loved your sense of humor, you were one in a million! Enjoy your well-deserved time now in Heaven. We’ll miss you. God bless you for the memories xx

    25/10/2015 at 5:38 am
  8. Caroline Twomey

    For many years since my childhood i have enjoyed the pleasure of watching you Maureen O Hara an inspiring lady and a fantastic role model. You devoted your life to entertaining us and you are a great ambassador for your home country of Ireland god bless you R.I.P

    25/10/2015 at 2:08 am
  9. Julie

    Beautiful lady , loved her film,s……Just as you were, you will always be , so very special in our memory …. R.I.P , God bless your family at this sad time x

    24/10/2015 at 11:22 pm
  10. Verlie belcher

    Iwas surprise that she was born inireland and move to cal to live so long time since her hubby pass alway she was lovely woman and love her family so much she was very beautiful redhair I like her very mic because she was very good action and actress and good her attitude with her family god less her soul and peace

    24/10/2015 at 10:39 pm

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