Weekly Comment:
Watch This Archive Footage of Maureen O’Hara’s Academy Awards Surprise

Maureen O'Hara and her parents on "This Is Your Life."

By Irish America Staff
June 23, 2017

Maureen O’Hara has heard a banshee, played camogie, and more from a 1957 episode of “This Is Your Life.”

At the 1957 Academy Awards TV host Ralph Edwards surprised Maureen O’Hara mid-way through an interview about her upcoming film The Wings of Eagles. But it turns out that the interview itself was staged and the whole thing was a gambit to get O’Hara back to his studio for his live show “This Is Your Life.”

“This Is Your Life” ran from 1952-1961 and always focused on the details of the surprise guest’s life in front of a studio audience. The show was wildly successful, in part because the identity of the guest was kept from the public until the show aired live.

One of the best parts of the program with O’Hara is when Edwards asks her if she’s ever heard a banshee. It turns out she has.

“Oh I certainly have.” She says. “In America, the banshee has been made so much fun of people have come to laugh about it, but it’s very serious in Ireland.” Edwards seems skeptical, prompting O’Hara to give him one of her trademark stern looks.

“I heard the banshee once, and also my brother Charles did, too. I heard the banshee with my father when my grandmother died. Oh it’s a terrible wail.”

They go on to discuss O’Hara’s parents, Charles Stewart Parnell FitzSimons, named in honor of the famous Irish patriot, who owned at the time a sporting goods store in Dublin, and Marguerite Lilburn, who was a singer.

Later on in the program, one of O’Hara’s childhood friends surprises her, Moya Griffin, who was married to the governor of the Bank of Ireland. The two swap memories and reminisce about O’Hara’s love of camogie, or women’s hurling.

Soon, O’Hara’s parents are on the stage talking about O’Hara’s camogie years, which her father describes as “a form of legalized mayhem.”

Watch the whole video to see a peek into Maureen O’Hara’s childhood and glamorous 1950s life. ♦

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