Monday, December 5, 2011

Inspirational Icon Monday: Maureen O'hara

With the festive Christmas season surrounding us, I thought it only appropriate to highlight a starlet of one of my all time favorite Christmas films--Miracle on 34th Street (1947.) Maureen O'hara played a career woman and practical mother who taught her daughter (played by a young Natalie Wood) not to believe in fairytales but instead accept the harsh realities of life. If she hadn't of looked like a beautiful Christmas ornament with her luscious red locks, flawless snowy skin and sparkly emerald eyes, her anti-St.Nick stance may have been annoying to me as a child. I don't remember ever really believing that Santa was real...probably because I would find gifts that were supposedly from Santa under the tree weeks before Christmas morning signed in the exact same handwriting as my mother. My other clue came from the stockings that would be full of small toys days before what was supposed to be "the big morning reveal." I played along though by setting cookies and milk out for the big man in red because I loved the hope he represented. Without hope there's no reason to strive toward dreams of something better.

Born in a Dublin suburb, O'hara studied drama, music and dance at the Rathmines Theatre Company from the age of 6-17. Her training landed her an opportunity to screentest in London for a film that seemingly went nowhere. Actor Charles Laughton (she later starred opposite of him in The Hunchback of Notre Dame), saw her screentest, showed it around, and quickly had her securing a role in Hitchcock's Jamaica Inn (1939). She went onto star in How Green is my Valley (1941)and one of my favorite childhood films The Parent Trap(1961.) Through career highs and many dry spells, she remains to be remembered for the woman that had Santa Claus show her that fairytales really do come true. I would love to have Santa bring me my fairytale for Christmas. Tall, dark, handsome...and funny please.

O'hara in Miracle on 34th St.

My version of O'hara--just a wool coat and fabulous vintage hat!

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