Screen legend Maureen O’Hara finds happiness in move to Boise, Idaho
Actress happy after quitting Ireland after allegations of elder abuse
She said she is cautious about talking a lot about Boise, lest she offend Dubliners. “Then the dirty Dubs will say, ‘Why the hell didn’t she say anything about Dublin?’” she added.
Roberts reports that O’Hara rises late in the morning, usually about 10 a.m. She has breakfast, reads the newspaper and does about an hour of memory exercises, focusing on items such as the date and the name of the president of the United States.
“It’s terrible when you’re getting old and starting to forget,” O’Hara said. “It will happen to you.”
Most days she will listen to one of the three albums she cut in her career and a favorite features Irish songs.
“Our mother was a beautiful contralto,” O’Hara said, adding that her sister, Peggy, was a soprano. “If she had not entered the convent she would have become an opera singer.”
Not that O’Hara, a soprano, was known for her singing voice in the movies.
“They never wanted me to be singing,” she said of the studios. “They wanted me to be a stuntwoman and do fighting.”
Visited daily by her great-grandchildren, BayLee and Everest, O’Hara is happy in her new surroundings.
The screen goddess also reminisced about her working relationship with John Wayne.
She added: “We were two tough, don’t-give-in, keep-at-it people that enjoyed working together. We enjoyed working together because we knew how to be tough but not hateful.”
The author says that Wayne once called O’Hara the best guy he ever knew, to which she responds, “He was one of the best guys I ever knew.”
The Wayne/O’Hara connection is still alive and vibrant says Roberts, three decades after Wayne’s death.
He reports that O’Hara will travel to Wayne’s hometown of Winterset, Iowa, in May to attend Wayne’s 106th birthday celebration. The gathering will pay tribute to O’Hara by showing movies the two made together.
“It will be as good as having John Wayne here,” said Brian Downes, a former newspaper reporter who is now director of the John Wayne Birthplace Museum.
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