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Arts and Entertainment

Maureen O'Hara, Star Of 'Miracle On 34th Street', Dies At 95

Actress Maureen O'Hara in 1947 (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
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Maureen O'Hara, the Hollywood star of the Golden Age best known for her role in the Christmas classic Miracle On 34th Street, has died. She was 95.O'Hara was known for her fiery, tough-as-nails characters, particularly alongside her friend John Wayne and in the films of John Ford. "I was the only leading lady big enough and tough enough for John Wayne," she wrote in her 2004 memoir, 'Tis Herself. Though in 1947's Miracle On 34th Street, where she plays the mother of a young Natalie Wood, her character makes a transformation into a far more sentimental person.

The 1952 film The Quiet Man, directed by John Ford, starring O'Hara and Wayne, and set in her native Ireland, was her personal favorite. In a statement released by her family, O'Hara is said to have passed away in her sleep at her home in Boise, Idaho, on Saturday while the music of The Quiet Man played.

O'Hara was born Maureen FitzSimons on August 17, 1920 in the Dublin suburb of Ranelagh. Her film career began in Britain, and her first major role was at the age of 18 in Alfred Hitchcock's Jamaica Inn. She followed that up with the RKO production of The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, her first Hollywood film.

Director John Ford would cast O'Hara in her first big-budget film—1941's How Green Was My Valley. It would go on to win the Oscar for Best Picture, famously beating Citizen Kane. She would make four more films with Ford: Rio Grande, The Quiet Man, Long Gray Line, and The Wings Of Eagles.

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The Irish actress would also be known for her bold, beautiful look. According to Variety, the production of 1945's The Spanish Main was switched to Technicolor from black and white because of O'Hara's green eyes and red hair.

Although never nominated for an Oscar during her entire career, O'Hara received an Honorary Award in 2014.