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McKeefry Banner – January 2017

‘I have a great need of you’ – Love letters to Maureen O’Hara from The Quiet Man director are top seller at actress’ estate auction

Irish actress Maureen O'Hara. (Picture: Keystone/Getty Images)
Irish actress Maureen O’Hara. (Picture: Keystone/Getty Images)

LOVE letters from The Quiet Man director John Ford were amongst the possessions belonging to late actress Maureen O’Hara sold off in New York this week.

Maureen O’Hara died in her sleep in October 2015 and was buried in Virginia alongside her late husband Charles Blair, Jr.

O’Hara, fondly remembered for her roles in The Quiet Man and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, was renowned for her fiery spirit and her proud Irish roots.

At her funeral, O’Hara’s grandson, Conor Fitzsimons, with whom she lived in the US, told the congregation of her fierce pride of Ireland.

“The one thing that I think my grandmother was proud of most was being Irish because that meant to her something that nobody could take from her,” he said.

“It was in her heart. It was in her soul. It was in her spirit. Ireland was her heart.”

The never before seen letters were part of a 242-item lot.

Also included were film contracts, dresses, scripts and personal effects, auctioned off by Bonhams International Auctioneers in New York.

Auctioned for $75,000, the letters revealed the depths of John Ford’s love for Maureen O’Hara.

“I have a great need of you,” Ford wrote, “a great physical urge, not the body but the mind.

“If I could only see you, just to hear you laugh.

American film director John Ford. (Picture: Keystone/Getty Images)
American film director John Ford. (Picture: Keystone/Getty Images)

“I’m not expecting too much, you’ve got a job to do, that comes first.

“You know my dear, whatever you feel like doing is ok with me.

“I’m so grateful for the few weeks happiness you’ve given me (few weeks! It was a lifetime!)

“You’re still my darling girl, come hell or high water, and I’ll always love […] you.

“Please think kindly of me, not much, a little bit.”

The letters were written in the run up to Ford’s 1952 film, The Quiet Man and almost all the letters were in their original envelopes.

The pair originally met on the set of How Green Was My Valley in 1941 and began a long and turbulent friendship, of which which O’Hara later said she wondered why Ford “grew to hate” her.

“For years, I wondered why John Ford grew to hate me so much.

“I realise now he didn’t hate me at all,” Maureen O’Hara said, “He loved me very much and even thought he was in love with me.”

One of the love letters from The Quiet Man director John Ford to Maureen O'Hara. (Picture: Bonhams Auctioneers)
One of the love letters from The Quiet Man director John Ford to Maureen O’Hara. (Picture: Bonhams Auctioneers)

Other top sellers at the auction included a copy of The Quiet Man script heavily annotated by Maureen O’Hara which sold for $50,000.

The tweed jacket worn by O’Hara in the film which went for $16,250, never before seen black and white and colour photographs of The Quiet Man sold for $8,750, and one lot of nine pieces of jewellery belonged to Maureen O’Hara sold for $5,625.

Over 95 per cent of O’Hara’s items were sold, fetching over $445,000 in total.

You can find more of the items here

Check out the gallery below to see more from Maureen O’Hara’s Estate sold at auction… 

Kelly Bar – MPU – January

Erica Doyle Higgins

Erica Doyle Higgins is a Digital Reporter with The Irish Post. You can follow her on Twitter @EDoyleHiggins

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