Siblings: Peggy FitzSimons (a Sisters of Charity nun); television/film producer Charles B. Fitzsimons (now deceased); actress Florrie FitzSimons (aka Clare Hamilton) (now deceased); Margot Fitzsimons; and actor James FitzSimons (aka James O'Hara) (now deceased).
Crack typist who typed some of her own scripts/rewrites.
Inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1993.
Gave birth to her only child at age 23, a daughter Bronwyn Brigid Price (aka Bronwyn FitzSimons) on June 30, 1944. Her daughter's father was her second husband, later ex-husband, William Houston Price (aka Will Price).
Performed many of her own stunts in her films, rare for an actress at that time.
Brought to Hollywoood by legendary actor, director, producer Charles Laughton, who originally signed her to a personal services performing contract, meaning she was signed to Laughton, instead of to a studio, as was common at that time.
Had starred with John Wayne in five films: Rio Grande (1950), The Quiet Man (1952), The Wings of Eagles (1957), McLintock! (1963) and Big Jake (1971). In all five, Wayne and O'Hara played husband and wife and, in all five, they were estranged at least briefly. The first three were directed by John Ford.
She was the first choice to play Anna in the film version of The King and I (1956) but Richard Rodgers did not want the role played by a "pirate queen".
She was having lunch with actress Lucille Ball the moment Lucy first saw Cuban musician Desi Arnaz, whom she later married.
She was born in Churchtown, then a suburb, now a part of metropolitan of Dublin, Ireland.
She was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7004 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on February 8, 1960.
She and John Wayne remained friends until his death. In her home on St. Croix, she had a wing she called the John Wayne Wing because he stayed there when visiting. It was badly damaged by Hurricane Hugo in 1989, some ten years after Wayne's death.
In Italy, most of her films were dubbed by Lydia Simoneschi. She was occasionally dubbed by Dhia Cristiani, most notably in Sitting Pretty (1948); by Rosetta Calavetta and once by Paola Barbara in the multi Oscar-winning How Green Was My Valley (1941).
She made headlines in 1997 by claiming that Brian Keith's suicide, while suffering from lung cancer and emphysema and mourning the suicide of his daughter, was an accident.
She was made a Fellow of the British Film Institute in recognition of her outstanding contribution to film culture.
She became an American citizen on January 25, 1946 but has retained her Irish citizenship. It was the first time in history that the United States government recognized an Irish citizen as Irish. This led to a change in process for all Irish immigrants.
She was originally cast as Isabel Bradley in The Razor's Edge (1946), but was pulled from the cast by Darryl F. Zanuck, and replaced by Gene Tierney. Zanuck would soon cast her in the classic Miracle on 34th Street (1947).
Grandmother of C. Beau Fitzsimons, son of her daughter Bronwyn.
Aunt of Charles F. FitzSimons.
In the early 1940s, she was one of the actresses invited to the White House for a benefit dinner. She sat right next to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Had a second career after retiring, as a successful magazine publisher; one of the reasons was to help keep her from becoming bored after retirement.
She lost her husband, Charles Blair (September 2, 1978), and her best friend John Wayne (June 11, 1979) just nine months apart.
Was good friends with Ginger Rogers, Anne Baxter, Lucille Ball,Lauren Bacall, Anna Lee, Robert Mitchum, Anthony Quinn, Stuart Whitman and French actress Irina Demick.
Was John Wayne's favorite actress and he considered her a real friend, the only woman he thought of in that way. When he lay dying in his hospital bed, he watched on television as Maureen petitioned Congress to give him a Congressional Gold Medal, which they did by a unanimous vote.
As one of six, Maureen was raised with her siblings at 32 Upper Beechwood Avenue in Dublin's Ranelagh district.
She was a staunch conservative Republican and over time has supported the Presidencies of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George Bush and George W. Bush.
After being signed by Erich Pommer and Charles Laughton, it was thought that the unusual spelling of her last name--FitzSimons--would be a problem, so they gave her the choice of O'Hara or O'Mara.
Received an honorary doctorate from University College in Galway, Ireland (1988).
Received a degree from the Guild School of Music in London and became part of the Abbey Theater in Dublin when she was 14, winning the All-Ireland Cup at 16 for her portrayal of Portia in "The Merchant of Venice", by William Shakespeare.
Acting mentor was Charles Laughton.
Resided with her grandson, C. Beau Fitzsimons, and his family in Boise, Idaho.
Appeared at Macy's department store 34th Street in New York City to promote her book "'Tis Herself". Macy's was the main setting for one of her best-known films, from 57 years before: Miracle on 34th Street (1947). [March 2004]
Had starred with Anthony Quinn in six films: The Black Swan (1942), Buffalo Bill (1944), Sinbad, the Sailor (1947), Against All Flags (1952), The Magnificent Matador (1955) and Only the Lonely (1991).
Her first screen test was for a British film called The Playboy (1938) at Elstree Studios. It was arranged by American bandleader Harry Richman, who was then appearing in Dublin. Despite her hating the experience ("I looked like Mata Hari") and Charles Laughton's opinion that it was awful, he signed her to a contract. RKO Radio Pictures later purchased her contract from him and later sold part of it to 20th Century-Fox.
She was the second actress, after Myrna Loy (in 1991), to receive an honorary Academy Award without ever having been nominated previously.
Had two great-grandchildren, Bailey and Everest, via grandson C. Beau Fitzsimons.
She was the last credited cast member of Miracle on 34th Street (1947) to pass away on October 24, 2015.
Buried at Arlington Cemetery, besides her late husband Charles Blair, who was a great military officer.
Inducted into the Hair Fan's Hall of Fame in 2008.
Was one of four actresses to be nicknamed "Queen of Technicolor". The other three were Maria Montez, Yvonne De Carlo, and Rhonda Fleming.
Was in three Oscar Best Picture nominees: How Green Was My Valley (1941), Miracle on 34th Street (1947) and The Quiet Man (1952), the first was the only winner.
She was supposed to pair up with John Wayne in The Shootist (1976). However, Don Siegel thought she was wrong for the part and Lauren Bacall was cast. This turned out to be Wayne's final film.
She was considered to team up with John Wayne in Rooster Cogburn (1975). Her part went to Katharine Hepburn.
Really wanted to be an opera soprano.
She has appeared in four films that have been selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant: Dance, Girl, Dance (1940), How Green Was My Valley (1941), Miracle on 34th Street (1947) and The Quiet Man (1952).