Maureen O'Hara, the Irish actress dubbed the 'Queen of Technicolor,' was 32 years old on the release of John Ford's classic “The Quiet Man” in 1952.
Already established as a well-respected actress, this was far from the first time that O’Hara had worked with her leading man John Wayne or the director Ford, often being cast opposite “The Duke,” while Ford’s obsession with her beauty meant that he cast her as the leading lady in many of his films.
Here are the answers to some of the most asked questions about the famed red-headed star...
How old was Maureen O’Hara when she started acting?
Born in Ranelagh in Dublin City on August 17, 1920, Maureen O’Hara and her five siblings showed their talent from a very young age. Training at the famed Abbey Theatre from her teens, Maureen’s dream was initially to be an opera singer.
Despite being made to go to business college by her ever-practical father, Maureen was discovered at just 17 years of age by famed English actor Charles Laughton and earned her one-way ticket to Hollywood in the 1939 film “The Hunchback of Notre Dame."
She is probably best known, however, for playing the iconic Mary Kate Danaher in “The Quiet Man,” the character that truly brought her into Irish acting royalty and just one of the five films in which she starred opposite Western legend, John Wayne.
How old was Maureen O’Hara when she was awarded an Oscar?
Determined not to rely on her beauty, O'Hara worked hard to prove her worth as an actress. In 2014, her efforts were formally recognized during the Motion Picture Academy’s Governors Awards where she was presented with an Honorary Award.
Fittingly, O'Hara's award was presented to her by another Irish great, Liam Neeson. O'Hara graced the stage as the orchestra performed "Danny Boy," which the Irish star continued softly singing.
Concluding her acceptance speech, O'Hara said: “I’ll leave you with this old Irish saying: ‘May the road rise to meet you, the wind be always at your back, and may the sun shine warmly upon your face.’ Good night."
The event marked O'Hara's final public appearance.
How old was Maureen O’Hara when she died?
Ireland’s leading lady passed away on October 24, 2015, at her home in Boise, Idaho, at the age of 95. She is buried at the Arlington National Cemetery, next to her much-beloved husband, US Navy pilot General Charles Blair who died in a plane crash in 1978.
*Originally published in January 2018. Updated in August 2023.