Celebration to mark Maureen O’Hara’s 100th birthday to be held at Irish museum

Celebration to mark Maureen O’Hara’s 100th birthday to be held at Irish museum
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A special celebration to mark the centenary of the birth of Hollywood actress Maureen O’Hara is to be held at a Limerick museum.

The Foynes Flying Boat museum will host a fashion show next month consisting of dresses worn over the course of the Irish born actor’s distinguished career.

O’Hara, who died at the age of 95 in 2015, appeared in The Quiet Man, Miracle on 34th Street, How Green was my Valley and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Her last major film was in 1991 when she starred alongside the late John Candy in Only the Lonely.

She was the patron of the the Foynes museum. She took on the role in memory of her husband, Charles Blair, who was a flying boat captain and decorated United States Air Force officer.

Maureen O’Hara and Gay Byrne during The Irish Film and Television Awards 2004

The couple first met when the actor was travelling to Ireland in 1947 on a flying boat captained by Brigadier General Blair. He was killed in an air crash in the Caribbean in 1978.

When Maureen O’Hara died she was buried at Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington in the same grave as Brig General Blair.

In 2017 her family donated a vast collection of the star’s memorabilia to the Foynes museum.

The collection holds more than 300 garments as well as her Honorary Oscar and personal items, awards, movie contracts, furniture, personal letters and diaries.

The fashion show, co-ordinated by the Holman-Lee model agency, will adhere to all social distancing requirements with just 50 tickets being made available.

Maureen O’Hara was born in Ranelagh in Dublin in 1920. She was thrice married and made up to sixty films.

The stars of 'Our Man in Havana' on 20th May 1959

Maureen O’Hara stars in 1959 film ‘Our Man in Havana’

O’Hara was born Maureen Fitzsimons. She changed her name to O’Hara on the advice of actor Charles Laughton who first discovered her as a feisty 19 year old with captivating good looks.

The Abbey Theatre-trained actor became a naturalised US citizen in 1946 and held dual Irish-US citizenship. The woman known as “Big Red” for her fiery hair, starred opposite many of Hollywood’s greats, including John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Henry Fonda, and Alec Guinness.

O’Hara lived for many years in Glengarriff, Co Cork. She loved her home and had many friends locally, in particular through the adjoining golf club.

She bought Lugdine Park in Glengarriff with her late husband Charles Blair in 1970. Her daughter Bronwyn (71) died in 2016.

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