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Remembering Maureen O’Hara

Remembering Maureen O’Hara

         Maureen O’Hara made an indelible impression on moviegoers of
several generations. Here at the Savannah Film Festival, the gifted young
actress Saoirse Ronan spoke of meeting her and how she represented a success
story that resounded with Irish moviegoers to this very day. She was inevitably
described as fiery (in part because of her flaming red hair) and feisty,
onscreen and off. On film this quality made her a perfect partner for John
Wayne, someone who could stand up to him—believably. In person, it meant there
was no such thing as a dull conversation, even if some of the stories she spun
might best be described as blarney.

         I only met her once, on the set of the 1991 movie Only
the Lonely
, in which she played John Candy’s mother, but she gave me a
lively interview. She spoke fondly of her mentors, Charles Laughton and
producer Erich Pommer, and named They Met in Argentina as her all-time
worst movie. I regret that being out of town prevents me from digging into my
files and quoting from that conversation, but I hope to do so when I return
home. I couldn’t let the week pass without posting something about O’Hara and
her contribution to the golden age of Hollywood.

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