John Wayne’s Children Reflect on the Duke’s Frequent Collaborator Maureen O’Hara

by Lauren Boisvert

Maureen O’Hara was a gorgeous and talented Irish actress, and long-time friend and collaborator with John Wayne. In episode 1 of the John Wayne Gritcast, Patrick, Ethan, and Marisa Wayne reminisce on their father’s friendship and films with Maureen O’Hara.

“She was Irish through and through. You could barely understand her over there she spoke with such a brogue,” Patrick says of O’Hara. He mentions that her parents didn’t speak Gaelic, but O’Hara did, and that “she became more Irish than they were.”

Marisa tells her story of meeting O’Hara as well, describing her as “beautiful, and commanding, and strong.”

Maureen O’Hara and John Wayne’s Beautiful Friendship

John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara were only in 5 films together, but their friendship lasted almost 3 decades. In a post by the John Wayne Estate on Instagram, an interview with the two shows they had “great respect for one another.”

In the interview, a reporter says, “She’s been your wife a great many times.” Maureen O’Hara replied, “His fighting partner!”

They made a great pair in films like McLintock!, The Quiet Man, and Rio Grande.

“There’s no way to make her not look beautiful,” the reporter says, and John Wayne wholeheartedly agrees. “[Director John] Ford tried to make her unattractive in a few scenes – and it was impossible!”

When John Wayne was dying of cancer, O’Hara visited him for 3 days in the hospital. She stayed by her friend’s bedside to raise his spirits. According to Irish Central, Maureen O’Hara and John Wayne reminisced about the good old days; one in particular, where they knocked on a stranger’s door one night and asked for a drink. The stranger expressed such a shock at seeing them, Hollywood’s biggest stars, on the doorstep, but invited them in nonetheless.

When Wayne expressed his dejectedness at turning 72, O’Hara responded, “So what? Mileage never hurt a Rolls Royce.”

Maureen herself died in 2015 from natural causes at 94. She was buried in Arlington National Cemetery next to her husband, Charles Blair. She only had one child, Bronwyn, with her second husband. Maureen O’Hara spent a lot of time in Glengariff, Ireland; her failing health and alleged elder abuse eventually led to her move to Boise, Idaho with her grandson.

In 2014, The Academy awarded her an Honorary Oscar for her work in Hollywood; this made her the second actress, after Myrna Loy, who received the award after never having a nomination n her lifetime.

Maureen O’Hara was an amazing actress, and was dubbed “Queen of Technicolor” for her long and storied career. She lives on in the amazing films she did with John Wayne, the chemistry and friendship they shared, and in her incredible career.