With her fiery red hair and energetic performances to match, Maureen O’Hara has long been hailed as one of Ireland’s most renowned and celebrated actresses.
This month, O’Hara made a rare public appearance at the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) Film Festival, at which she was interviewed before a jubilant crowd preceding a screening of ‘How Green Was My Valley’ in its world premiere restoration. It was the first film that O’Hara worked on with John Ford, and they would form a lifelong working bond subsequently.
She has starred in films that are deeply ingrained in cinematic history: ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’, ‘Miracle on 34th Street’, ‘The Black Swan’, ‘The Parent Trap’ and, of course, her outstanding films with legendary director, John Ford. She is particularly well-known for her roles in Ford’s ‘The Quiet Man’ and ‘How Green Was My Valley’, where she plays Angharad Morgan, the daughter of a close-knit Welsh mining family.
Often referenced simply as the film that beat out ‘Citizen Kane’ for the Best Picture Oscar in 1941, ‘How Green Was My Valley’ is a touching tale of family bonds that more than stands on its own as one of Ford’s most important films. It portrays the many struggles of a Welsh mining family, including strikes, mine disasters and catastrophic illness. The film also allowed Ford to work with a three actors who would become key parts in his unofficial stock company: O’Hara, Donald Crisp and Anna Lee.
O’Hara has said that the director is “... the greatest director that the picture business has ever known.”
In the interview below, Master of Ceremonies and TCM’s Robert Osborne welcomes Maureen O'Hara at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood. She had long been on TCM’s short-list of most desired guests for the festival. We can see here how the Irish actress cheekily talks about Ford, and shows that she is still as bright, charming and good-humoured as ever, even at 93 years of age.