Ok, a confession.
Frank actually recalls seeing Maureen O’Hara movies as an early adolescent on first runs — when they first landed in movie theaters. He remembers how stirred he was by the actress’ mixture of aggression and beauty, a sexy combination to a libidinous teenager.
She says that powerful Hollywood stars and directors were drawn to her because I guess I was the only female man in their lives.
Was O’Hara one of the greats? No.
Her talents were limited, and her “Irish temper” tantrums were sometimes wearing. But she had a visceral directness onscreen that sparked up any movie. (Frank’s favorites: 1948’s Sitting Pretty; 1955’s The Long Grey Line; and 1959’s Our Man In Havana.)
O’Hara logged 65 movie and TV credits over a lengthy career that began in 1938, peaked in the Forties and Fifties, and concluded 14 years ago. (O’Hara is still with us at age 93, living near her grandson in Boise, Idaho.)
On to the questions in our Monday Quiz — Maureen O’Hara. (Watch for the answers tomorrow.)
1) Question: Which of the following was most responsible for introducing O’Hara to Hollywood, and for setting up her star movie career? a) Douglas Fairbanks Jr.; b) Charles Laughton; c) Daryl Zanuck; or d) Tyrone Power.
2) Question: O’Hara was informally known in Hollywood by which of these references: a) “Big Red”; b) “The Pirate Queen”; c) “The Queen of Technicolor” or d) “The Queen of Mean.”
3) Question: Who among the following was NOT one of O’Hara’s notable leading men? a) Rex Harrison; b) Henry Fonda; c) Gary Cooper; or d) John Wayne.
4) Question: Which one of these famous directors did NOT direct O’Hara in a movie? a) Jean Renoir; b) Alfred Hitchcock; c) William Wyler or d) Carol Reed.
5) Question: What did O’Hara have in common with Anne Baxter, Brenda Joyce, Linda Darnell and Gene Tierney? a) A love affair with Howard Hughes; b) Was considered a possible replacement for Alice Faye as 20th Century Fox’s biggest star; c) She declined to pose for World War II-era pinup photos; d) Had multiple marriages.
6) Question: Which of O’Hara’s marriages was unconsummated? a) To Will Price; b) To Charles Blair; c) To George Brown; d) To Tyrone Power.
7) Question: What does O’Hara have in common with Doris Day, Debbie Reynolds and Dorothy Lamour? a) They shared the same studio hair stylist; b) They had the reputation for being deeply religious; c) They married husbands who ran through the money they earned; c) They are avid animal lovers.
8) Question: Who said this about O’Hara: Butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth. Or anyplace else? a) Joan Crawford; b) Lana Turner; c) Elsa Lanchester; or d) George Sanders.
9) Question: O’Hara had a serious falling out with John Wayne, her most famous male costar, over what she considered the inflated salary he demanded and got for John Ford’s The Quiet Man. a) True; b) False?
10) Question: O’Hara once dropped hints that director John Ford harbored gay impulses? a) True; or b) False.