With her red hair, peaches and cream complexion and fiery tongue, she played against some of the most masculine and iconic actors of her day: John Wayne, Tyrone Powers and Errol Flynn.
Two of my favorite movies of hers are diametrically opposite.
The first is The Quiet Man (1952). Sean Thornton (John Wayne) is an American boxer returning to his family’s ancestral Irish village. He is attracted to Mary Kate Danaher (Maureen O’Hara), and is eager to marry her. But before Mary Kate will agree to marry Sean, he must obtain her dowry from her hard headed brother, who is refusing to part with it.
One of my favorite qualities of her character is in this movie is that Mary Kate is no shrinking violet. She knows what she wants and has no problem speaking her mind to get what she wants.
My other favorite Maureen O’Hara movie is Only The Lonely (1991). Danny Muldoon (the late John Candy) is a single man whose life is dominated by loving, but overbearing mother, Rose (Maureen O’Hara). It is only when he meets Theresa Luna (Ally Sheedy), that Danny could possibly stop his mother from treating him like a child.
It is obvious that Rose loves her son, like a parent should. But like some parents, they forget that their adult children have their own minds and are capable of making their own decisions.
Maureen O’Hara was 95. RIP.