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Actor Maureen O’Hara dies aged 95

NewsBy Neil Fetherston
Maureen O'Hara
Maureen O'Hara

The actor Maureen O’Hara, famed for her flaming red hair and her role in The Quiet Man, has died aged 95.

Her family confirmed in a statement that she passed away peacefully in her sleep today.

“It is with a sad heart that we share the news that Maureen O’Hara passed away today in her sleep of natural causes,” a statement from the Fitzsimons family read.

 “Maureen was our loving mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and friend. She passed peacefully surrounded by her loving family as they celebrated her life listening to music from her favorite movie, The Quiet Man.”

The family said that as an actor, O’Hara brought “unyielding strength and sudden sensitivity to every role she played”.

“Her characters were feisty and fearless, just as she was in real life. She was also proudly Irish and spent her entire lifetime sharing her heritage and the wonderful culture of the Emerald Isle with the world. Later in life, she became the first woman president of a commercially scheduled airline in the United States. ”

She had, they added, remained a champion of the arts, aviation and all things Irish throughout her life and never lost her joy and wonder of these pursuits.

“As much as Maureen cherished her privacy, she always appreciated the expressions of good will from people around the world and from all walks of life. She especially loved it when children recognised her from her role in Miracle on 34th Street and asked her: ‘Are you the lady who knows Santa Claus?’ She always answered: ‘Yes I am. What would you like me to tell him?’”

“While we mourn the loss of a very wonderful woman, we also celebrate her remarkable life and hope that it serves as an example to young people around the world, especially in Ireland, to work hard to make their dreams come true and to always have the courage to stand up for themselves.

“For those who may ask what they can do to honour Maureen, we have a simple request: visit Ireland one day and think of her.”#

President Michael D Higgins, who is on an official visit to the US, said O’Hara would be remembered as an “outstanding and versatile actress whose work, especially in film, will endure for many years to come”.

“I especially remember with affection her recent visit to Áras an Uachtaráin, when we discussed among other things her great love of Ireland and her strong family links to Shamrock Rovers,” said Mr Higgins.

Ms O’Hara’s beloved west Cork home was sold just last month for about €1.6 million.

The scenic coastal home on 35 acres was placed on the market in October last year with an asking price of €2.3 million after O’Hara moved permanently to the US to be close to her family.