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Book cover of 'Tis Herself

'Tis Herself

by Maureen O'Hara, John Nicoletti

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
Pages: 336
Paperback
ISBN: 9780743269162






Available to Buy

Overview of 'Tis Herself

In an acting career of more than seventy years, Hollywood legend Maureen O'Hara came to be known as "the queen of Technicolor" for her fiery red hair and piercing green eyes. She had a reputation as a fiercely independent thinker and champion of causes, particularly those of her beloved homeland, Ireland. In 'Tis Herself, O'Hara recounts her extraordinary life and proves to be just as strong, sharp, and captivating as any character she played on-screen.

O'Hara was brought to Hollywood as a teenager in 1939 by the great Charles Laughton, to whom she was under contract, to costar with him in the classic film The Hunchback of Notre Dame. She has appeared in many other classics, including How Green Was My Valley, Rio Grande, The Quiet Man, and Miracle on 34th Street. She recalls intimate memories of working with the actors and directors of Hollywood's Golden Age, including Laughton, Alfred Hitchcock, Tyrone Power, James Stewart, Henry Fonda, and John Candy. With characteristic frankness, she describes her tense relationship with the mercurial director John Ford, with whom she made five films, and her close lifelong friendship with her frequent costar John Wayne. Successful in her career, O'Hara was less lucky in love until she met aviation pioneer Brigadier General Charles F. Blair, the great love of her life, who died in a mysterious plane crash ten years after their marriage.

Candid and revealing, 'Tis Herself is an autobiography as witty and spirited as its author.

Synopsis of 'Tis Herself

In an acting career of more than seventy years, Hollywood legend Maureen O'Hara came to be known as "the queen of Technicolor" for her fiery red hair and piercing green eyes. She had a reputation as a fiercely independent thinker and champion of causes, particularly those of her beloved homeland, Ireland. In 'Tis Herself, O'Hara recounts her extraordinary life and proves to be just as strong, sharp, and captivating as any character she played on-screen.

O'Hara was brought to Hollywood as a teenager in 1939 by the great Charles Laughton, to whom she was under contract, to costar with him in the classic film The Hunchback of Notre Dame. She has appeared in many other classics, including How Green Was My Valley, Rio Grande, The Quiet Man, and Miracle on 34th Street. She recalls intimate memories of working with the actors and directors of Hollywood's Golden Age, including Laughton, Alfred Hitchcock, Tyrone Power, James Stewart, Henry Fonda, and John Candy. With characteristic frankness, she describes her tense relationship with the mercurial director John Ford, with whom she made five films, and her close lifelong friendship with her frequent costar John Wayne. Successful in her career, O'Hara was less lucky in love until she met aviation pioneer Brigadier General Charles F. Blair, the great love of her life, who died in a mysterious plane crash ten years after their marriage.

Candid and revealing, 'Tis Herself is an autobiography as witty and spirited as its author.

Publishers Weekly

Film legend O'Hara (b. 1920) and her collaborator, Nicoletti, have assembled a delightful anecdotal autobiography. She calls it "the tale of the toughest Irish lass who ever took on Hollywood and became a major leading lady of the silver screen." Born in a Dublin suburb, Maureen FitzSimons was a child radio actress, joined the Abbey Theater at age 14 and was cast in two major films before she was 19. After Alfred Hitchcock's Jamaica Inn (1939) came The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939), launching her career of 60 films. Many were top productions, yet O'Hara never received an Oscar nomination: "Hollywood would never allow my talent to triumph over my face." She recalls highlights and hurdles, including confrontations with stars and directors, commenting, "I have acted, punched, swashbuckled, and shot my way through an absurdly masculine profession during the most extraordinary of times." With her hazel-green eyes and red hair, O'Hara was dubbed "Queen of Technicolor," but yearned for more than "decorative roles." During her lengthy friendships with John Wayne and director John Ford, she saw "the darker side of John Ford, the mean and abusive side." In concluding chapters, she writes about her TV appearances as a vocalist, the mysteries surrounding the death of her husband, Brig. Gen. Charles F. Blair and her life in the Virgin Islands, where she ran an airline (Antilles Air Boats) and became publisher of Virgin Islander magazine. Hollywood's heyday returns to life in this revealing, insightful memoir. O'Hara treats readers like close friends, and her powerful personality is evident throughout. Photos not seen by PW. Agent, Mitchell Waters. (Mar.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

About the Author, Maureen O'Hara

Maureen O'Hara has homes in St. Croix and Ireland.

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Editorials

Publishers Weekly

Film legend O'Hara (b. 1920) and her collaborator, Nicoletti, have assembled a delightful anecdotal autobiography. She calls it "the tale of the toughest Irish lass who ever took on Hollywood and became a major leading lady of the silver screen." Born in a Dublin suburb, Maureen FitzSimons was a child radio actress, joined the Abbey Theater at age 14 and was cast in two major films before she was 19. After Alfred Hitchcock's Jamaica Inn (1939) came The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939), launching her career of 60 films. Many were top productions, yet O'Hara never received an Oscar nomination: "Hollywood would never allow my talent to triumph over my face." She recalls highlights and hurdles, including confrontations with stars and directors, commenting, "I have acted, punched, swashbuckled, and shot my way through an absurdly masculine profession during the most extraordinary of times." With her hazel-green eyes and red hair, O'Hara was dubbed "Queen of Technicolor," but yearned for more than "decorative roles." During her lengthy friendships with John Wayne and director John Ford, she saw "the darker side of John Ford, the mean and abusive side." In concluding chapters, she writes about her TV appearances as a vocalist, the mysteries surrounding the death of her husband, Brig. Gen. Charles F. Blair and her life in the Virgin Islands, where she ran an airline (Antilles Air Boats) and became publisher of Virgin Islander magazine. Hollywood's heyday returns to life in this revealing, insightful memoir. O'Hara treats readers like close friends, and her powerful personality is evident throughout. Photos not seen by PW. Agent, Mitchell Waters. (Mar.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Library Journal

Dubbed "The Queen of Technicolor" owing to her red hair and green eyes, Maureen O'Hara defined the strong, determined woman in such classics as How Green Was My Valley and The Quiet Man. But she was never given credit for her acting abilities, and in her memoir, the eightyish actress means to set the record straight. Fact: she was a member of the renowned Abbey Theater in Dublin, Ireland, when actor Charles Laughton discovered her (later, she was cast at his request in The Hunchback of Notre Dame). In a no-nonsense tone, O'Hara candidly shares tales of her costars (e.g., Errol Flynn, John Wayne, and Tyrone Power) and of her personal life-which was marked by a na vet that went against her screen persona. She married two men whom she didn't mean to marry and doesn't know why; she also asserts that director John Ford didn't really love her despite her evidence to the contrary-and she believes that her third husband was a secret CIA operative. Celebrity mavens will lap up this engrossing addition to the autobiography genre; little has been written about O'Hara, one of the last surviving members of Old Hollywood. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 11/15/03.]-Rosellen Brewer, Monterey Cty. Free Libs., Salinas, CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews

The actress burns brighter still than her hair in this get-it-straight-before-I-go, easy-sipping memoir. True to form, O'Hara comes out swinging: "I have acted, punched, swashbuckled, and shot my way through an absurdly masculine profession during the most extraordinary of times. As a woman, I'm proud to say that I stood toe-to-toe with the best of them." Maybe so for her movies, but not for her love life, in which she got trapped by one loser after another. While she is refreshingly honest about her bad choices, her excuse-"I know many women who are wonderfully savvy about turning away men they aren't interested in, but I've never been one of them"-is awfully lame, especially by the third time around. When it came to acting, O'Hara had a better head. She had her blockbusters and her bombs, but when she started getting background parts after big hits with Charles Laughton and Alfred Hitchcock, she identified the problem as casting executives ("I wasn't a whore. . . . I was unwilling to make that kind of sacrifice to get a part in a movie") and then took pains to dominate the scenes she was given. The actress comes across as tough and strong, on her knees only before her God, and comfortable in her own skin-enough so to voice unequivocally her critical assessments of Rex Harrison ("rude, vulgar, and arrogant"), Jeff Chandler ("a real sweetheart; but acting with him was like acting with a broomstick"), and Errol Flynn (serious decency issues). Nor does O'Hara make any bones about swashbucklers like At Sword's Point: "Hollywood snobs might have sneered at these pictures, but audiences never did." Perhaps most importantly, she provides heaps of material on her professional relationship withJohn Ford, its wild swings, and what she considers to be its root causes. "Above all else . . . I'm a tough Irishwoman." Not that the Technicolor hurt, but this feisty memoir shows there's way more to O'Hara than red hair and green eyes. Agent: Mitchell Waters/Curtis Brown

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