How Maureen O’Hara called out Hollywood sexism in 1945


A 72-year-old interview with Irish actress Maureen O’Hara has revealed how the Irish star was calling out Hollywood sexism back in 1945.

Then 25-years-old, O’Hara who an iconic figure in Hollywood’s Golden Age of the 1940s and 1950s, told The Mirror she was ready to quit the industry after being branded a ‘cold potato without sex appeal’ for refusing to sleep with studio bigwigs. 

A clipping of the interview with the actress was shared on Twitter by pianist James Rhodes, leading to a deluge of praise for the star of of films such as How Green Was My Valley and Miracle on 34th Street for speaking out.

‘I am so upset with it that I am ready to quit Hollywood. It’s got so bad I hate to come to work in the morning,’ she told the paper. 

‘I’m a helpless victim of a Hollywood whispering campaign. Because I don’t let the producer and director kiss me every morning or let them paw me they have spread word around town that I am not a woman — that I am a cold piece of marble statuary.’

‘I guess Hollywood won’t consider me as anything except a cold hunk of marble until I divorce my husband, give my baby away and get my name and photograph in all the newspapers. If that’s Hollywood’s idea of being a woman I’m ready to quit now,’ she continued.

A clipping from a 1945 Mirror interview with Irish actress Maureen O'Hara shows how she was calling out sexism in Hollywood 72 years ago 

A clipping from a 1945 Mirror interview with Irish actress Maureen O’Hara shows how she was calling out sexism in Hollywood 72 years ago 

The star said she'd been branded a 'cold potato' for refusing to sleep with directors and producers  in Hollywood and was on the verge of quitting the industry 

The star said she'd been branded a 'cold potato' for refusing to sleep with directors and producers  in Hollywood and was on the verge of quitting the industry 

The star said she’d been branded a ‘cold potato’ for refusing to sleep with directors and producers  in Hollywood and was on the verge of quitting the industry 

O’Hara died died in her sleep at her home in Boise, Idaho, in October 2015. 

She who was once considered one of the world’s most beautiful women played a string of feisty women opposite John Wayne, including in ‘The Quiet Man’.

‘I’ve always been a tough Irish lass,’ she told the Daily Telegraph newspaper in a 2004 interview.

‘I proved there was a bloody good actress in me. It wasn’t just my face. I gave bloody good performances.’ 

The actress aid she'd been a victim of a Hollywood whispering campaign after refusing to let directors and producers kiss her and 'paw' her 

The actress aid she'd been a victim of a Hollywood whispering campaign after refusing to let directors and producers kiss her and 'paw' her 

The actress aid she’d been a victim of a Hollywood whispering campaign after refusing to let directors and producers kiss her and ‘paw’ her 

Maureen O'Hara with John Wayne in The Quiet Man, one of her most famous roles 

Maureen O'Hara with John Wayne in The Quiet Man, one of her most famous roles 

Maureen O’Hara with John Wayne in The Quiet Man, one of her most famous roles 

According to her autobiography ”Tis Herself’, she started acting opposite her own shadow aged five.

She was brought to Hollywood in 1939 by legendary actor Charles Laughton and her first film was ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’, playing Esmerelda to his Quasimodo.

In 1941, she drew critical acclaim in Oscar-winning Welsh family saga ‘How Green Was My Valley’, directed by John Ford.

Twitter users praised the actress for being brave enough to speak out about Hollywood sexism 72 years ago 

Twitter users praised the actress for being brave enough to speak out about Hollywood sexism 72 years ago 

Twitter users praised the actress for being brave enough to speak out about Hollywood sexism 72 years ago 

And by 1947, she was appearing as mother of the young Natalie Wood in ‘Miracle on 34th Street’, while later movies included The Parent Trap in 1961.

In 1968, she married her third husband, Brig. Gen. Charles Blair. After “Big Jake,” she quit movies to live with him in the Virgin Islands, where he operated Antilles Airboats. 

After his death in a 1978 plane crash, she ran the company for several years before selling it, making her the first woman president of a scheduled airline in the United States.

O’Hara was awarded an honorary Oscar in 2014.

The actress arriving at the Motion Picture Academy's 6th Annual Governors Awards at Dolby Theatre a year before she died 

The actress arriving at the Motion Picture Academy's 6th Annual Governors Awards at Dolby Theatre a year before she died 

The actress arriving at the Motion Picture Academy’s 6th Annual Governors Awards at Dolby Theatre a year before she died 

With Anthony Quinn in the 1942 pirate film, The Black Swan, three years before she spoke out against sexual harassment 

With Anthony Quinn in the 1942 pirate film, The Black Swan, three years before she spoke out against sexual harassment 

With Anthony Quinn in the 1942 pirate film, The Black Swan, three years before she spoke out against sexual harassment 

Maureen with her husband, PAN AM pilot Capt. Charles Blair on his last flight before retirement 

Maureen with her husband, PAN AM pilot Capt. Charles Blair on his last flight before retirement 

Maureen with her husband, PAN AM pilot Capt. Charles Blair on his last flight before retirement 

 

 

 



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