An auction entitled “The Estate of Maureen O’Hara” will take place on Nov 29, in New York City. Among the items up for auction is a script for “The Quiet Man,” owned by John Ford but with many notes throughout by O’Hara. Also among the lots is the famous green tweed jacket worn by O’Hara’s character Mary Kate Danaher. The much beloved star of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and various other Hollywood hits the Dublin actress passed away in Oct 2015. While some of her belongs have been donated to a permanent collection at the Foynes Flying Boat a Maritime Museum, in Limerick, this auction, at Bonham’s in Manhattan is expected to garner a great deal of interesting from her worldwide fan base.
The upcoming auction is being promoted by Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and Bonhams and is set to include items from the estate of O’Hara, such as books, vintage photographs, costumes, jewelry, and her movie sheet posters. The most anticipated item will surely be John Ford's working script of “The Quiet Man”, heavily annotated throughout by O'Hara. It is expected to fetch between $80,000 and $120,000.
Probably the most famous of O’Hara’s movies “The Quiet Man,” directed by John Ford and co-starring John Wayne, was released in 1952. The much-loved movie won the Academy Award for Best Director for John Ford and for Best Cinematography.
The manuscript is the shooting script by Frank Nugent from a story by Maurice Walsh. It is signed by O’Hara on the interior flyleaf and includes two sheets of Ashford Castle stationery, including one some notes taken by O’Hara after a telephone call. According to Bonhams “For nearly 20 years, John Ford held onto the source material for The Quiet Man, a short story by Irish writer Maurice Walsh first published in the Saturday Evening Post in 1933.”
A decorated jaunting cart from the set of “The Quiet Man” is also set to fetch between $80,000 and $120,000 at auction. Bonhams reports that that cart, measuring 60-inches in height, was “used to carry the cast members to and from different locations in the village of Cong, in County Mayo, during shooting of The Quiet Man.” They add that the car is “almost identical in construction and appearance to the jaunting cart used in the scene where Sean Thornton gifts Mary Kate Danaher with a jaunting cart before driving her to town.”
Mary Kate Dannaher’s green tweed jacket is expected to fetch between $5,000 and $7,000. The herringbone blazer with “three buttons, rounded lapels, and flap pockets, bearing a red-lettered Western Costume Co. Hollywood label with the typed inscription, “No. 59-1475-1 / Name Maureen O’Hara / Waist 28 / Bust 38.” The famous jacket was worn by O’Hara when Sean Thornton (John Wayne) comes to her character’s house to ask her brother for permission to marry her; and the end of the film, when Thornton drags her through a field and they confront her brother over his refusal to pay her dowry, ending in the classic fistfight.
Director of the auction Catherine Williamson, Ph.D. explained, in a forward for the auction’s brochure, how they came to have possession of such a treasure trove of O’Hara’s personal possessions. Williamson explained “In a cold warehouse in Idaho, my colleague and I dug through stacks and stacks of boxes like Hollywood archeologists, piecing together the story of her life.” O’Hara had spent her final years living with her grandson Conor FitzSimons in Boise, Idaho.
Williamson described the treasures and memorabilia they found in the warehouse, mapping O’Hara’s life – from her childhood in Ranelagh, south Dublin city, to Hollywood and Broadway.
Among those personal items Williamson found “secret love letters John Ford wrote her during the months leading up to filming, so intimate and intense that O’Hara herself planned to destroy them upon her death, but in later years changed her mind.”
Introducing the auction Williamson wrote “For many fans, Maureen O’Hara is the most beautiful star in all of Hollywood. Her classic features, green eyes, and red hair light up the screen like no other— or is it her strong, Irish temperament that makes her so compelling? In either case, it has been a pleasure and a privilege to put together this auction of property from the estate of the great Irish-American actress.”
Click here to view the auction brochure in full.