Maureen O’Hara, the Irish beauty whose striking red hair, crystal-green eyes and porcelain skin were so dazzling on the silver screen that she was dubbed “The Queen of Technicolor,” died Saturday, October 24, 2015 at her home in Boise, Idaho, Johnny Nicoletti, her longtime manager, told the Associated Press. She was 95.
Maureen O’Hara, who played the feisty wife to onscreen husband John Wayne in five films — three of them directed by John Ford.
“She passed peacefully surrounded by her loving family as they celebrated her life listening to music from her favorite movie, The Quiet Man,” her family said in a statement.
Maureen O’Hara moved to Idaho in 2013 to be closer to her relatives after spending four decades in Glengarriff, Ireland.
Although she was memorable in so many great Hollywood films — including The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939), How Green Was My Valley (1941), Miracle on 34th Street (1947), Rio Grande (1950), The Quiet Man (1952), Our Man in Havana (1959) and The Parent Trap (1961) — the Dublin native never won an Academy Award, much less received an Oscar nomination.
That oversight was rectified when the Academy announced she would receive an honorary Oscar at the Governors Awards in November 2014.
O’Hara starred opposite Wayne in three Westerns — Rio Grande, McLintock! (1963) and Big Jake (1971) — as well as in the St. Patrick’s Day perennial The Quiet Man and the Navy biopic The Wings of Eagles (1957).
On matching wits onscreen alongside Wayne, O’Hara said in a 2003 interview: “I was tough. I was tall. I was strong. I didn’t take any nonsense from anybody. He was tough, he was tall, he was strong and he didn’t take any nonsense from anybody. As a man and a human being, I adored him.”
Meanwhile, she helped Ford collect two of his four career Oscars by starring for the legendary director on the best picture winner How Green Was My Valley and The Quiet Man.
“I knew what great directors and great actors were like,” she said of Ford (whom she called “Pappy”) in a 2010 documentary about the making of The Quiet Man, “but I have to honestly say he was the best, really the best. The meanest.
“Believe me, I would rather work with the — pardon me — the old bastard than not.”
In such Technicolor films as To the Shores of Tripoli (1942), the swashbucklers The Black Swan (1942) and The Spanish Main (1945) and The Quiet Man, the vibrant O’Hara pops off the screen. “Framed in Technicolor, Miss O’Hara seems more significant than a setting sun,” The New York Times once said.
She received The Queen of Technicolor nickname from Dr. Herbert Kalmus, who invented the process.
Maureen O’Hara Dead at 95.