Maureen O’Hara paid tribute to John Wayne, John Ford and many more in a moving acceptance speech after her lifetime of work was celebrated by her peers and she was given an Honorary Academy Award.
Amazingly, O’Hara never won an Oscar throughout her career. The movie industry finally put that right by selecting her for the prestigious award in recognition of her colossal contribution to film.
The Dublin born star sat in a wheelchair as she read out her acceptance speech, which included tributes to the men that set her on her way to stardom, as well as a personal thank you to her life-long friend John Wayne.
O’Hara and Wayne starred in five films together, most notably the 1952 classic The Quiet Man. The film is still hugely popular today, and is considered to be one of the greatest romantic movies of all time.
O’Hara was introduced by two more Hollywood stars, Clint Eastwood and Liam Neeson. Both paid tribute to her as an actress and a person before welcoming her on to the stage.
Eastwood recalled the first time he met O’Hara, when he was a young actor struggling to make a name for himself. He described her as the “first ‘real’ movie star” he ever met and the “ultimate Irish lass”.
Tak3n star Neeson also thought back to the first time he saw O’Hara, when he was a young boy in Ireland.
He explained how O’Hara became his first crush after he watched the famous scene in The Quiet Man in which Wayne’s character Sean Thornton first sees O’Hara, and is struck by her beauty. Neeson admits he was also left mesmerised by this fiery Irish girl.
He went on to thank her for giving him inspiration as a youngster in Ballymena, that he too could one day go on to become a star of the silver screen.
Watch Maureen O’Hara’s acceptance speech below, and also the tributes from Clint Eastwood and Liam Neeson.
Maureen O’Hara’s acceptance speech
Liam Neeson recalls the first time he saw Maureen O’Hara
Clint Eastwood pays tribute to Maureen O’Hara