Featured Star: Maureen O'Hara
As Joanna Dana in Malaga (1954)

The scarlet mane, emerald eyes and creamy complexion were made to be embraced by the Technicolor process, and the ingratiating presence and skill of this tall, feisty Dublin-born beauty has added to the endurance of the many undisputed film classics on her lengthy resume. The daughter of a clothier who was part owner of the Shamrock Rovers soccer team and a former contralto, Maureen FitzSimons began training in drama and music from the time she was six. While her father insisted on her mastering clerical skills as a back-up, the athletic tomboy was winning dramatic contests by her early teens, and gained admission to the Abbey Theater at fourteen. At eighteen, she traveled to London to take bit parts in two films; a screen test she had made caught the attention of Charles Laughton, who proceeded to put her under contract and rechristen her with the more marquee-friendly "O'Hara." Laughton then promptly arranged for his new protege to take a pivotal role in Alfred Hitchcock's "Jamaica Inn."

Laughton followed by bringing her to America, casting her as Esmeralda to his lead performance in "The Hunchback of Notre Dame." With the clouds of war gathering over Europe, Laughton sold her pact to RKO. While her next few projects (including the since-rediscovered "Dance, Girl, Dance") didn't generate much traction, that changed with the success of her portrayal of the willful Welsh mining family daughter in "How Green Was My Valley," the first of five career projects for director John Ford. Fox would thereafter put her to work in timely flag-wavers ("To the Shores of Tripoli," "Ten Gentlemen from West Point") as well as the swashbuckler "The Black Swan." The game physicality she displayed there ensured that she'd be a staple of the adventure genre for the next decade, as evidenced by "The Spanish Main," "Sinbad the Sailor," "Bagdad," "Tripoli," "Flame of Araby," "At Sword's Point" and "Against All Flags."

She'd be otherwise busy through the WWII era with "Immortal Sergeant," "This Land is Mine," "The Fallen Sparrow" and "Buffalo Bill." Notables from the balance of the '40s include the holiday favorite "Miracle on 34th Street" and the first "Mr. Belvedere" comedy "Sitting Pretty." The '50s began with her reuniting with Ford, and beginning her memorable screen partnership with John Wayne, in "Rio Bravo." The western's success granted Ford the requisite leverage with RKO for the trio to collaborate on the irresistible Ireland odyssey "The Quiet Man." She'd remain a formidable leading lady through the Eisenhower era, as marked by "The Redhead from Wyoming," "War Arrow," "The Long Gray Line" (for Ford), "Lady Godiva of Coventry," "The Wings of Eagles" (with Wayne for Ford), and "Our Man in Havana."

Maureen spent the early to mid-'60s making a seamless transition to matriarchal parts, as shown by "The Parent Trap," "Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation," "Spencer's Mountain," "McLintock!" (with Wayne), and "The Rare Breed." Subsequently, she entered into a happy union with aviator Charles Blair, and pared back her workload; after her final teaming with Wayne in 1971's "Big Jake," she embraced a big-screen retirement, although resurfacing for the 1973 telefilm of "The Red Pony." After Blair's passing in a 1978 plane crash, she assumed the presidency of his air carrier business for a time. She was coaxed back to filmmaking in 1991 with the tailored role of lovelorn cop John Candy's controlling mom in "Only the Lonely." She'd make a handful of made-for-TV films over the mid- to late '90s, after which the redoubtable redhead called it a day with performing; the years since have seen the publication of the autobiography "'Tis Herself," and have otherwise been largely spent living quietly in her homeland.

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Pricing valid as of Wednesday, September 17, 2014.
All prices and availability subject to change without notice.

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