Happy Birthday Mae and Maureen-Famous Feisty Females of Hollywood!

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Maureen O'Hara and Mae West share a birthday

Maureen O’Hara and Mae West share a birthday!

Today we celebrate the birthday of two of Hollywood’s fiestiest females,    Maureen O’Hara and Mae West.  Maureen  was known  for  playing strong-willed ‘fiery’ characters and Mae for her  outspokenness and sharp wit,  a seductress  who pushed the boundaries of censorship with her revealing costumes and scandalous one liners.

Maureen o'Hara

Maureen O’Hara

She was known as the “Queen of Technicolor” because of her flaming red tresses and mesmerizing green eyes.  And being quite athletic ( she grew up as a tomboy), actually performed many of her own movie stunts!

Irish lassie Maureen FitzSimons began her film career in the Alfred Hitchcock movie,  Jamaica Inn,   which,  as an avid Hitchcock fan, I  watched again  this week!  Charles Laughton, her co-star , is credited with discovering the redhead after seeing one of her screen tests.  He also encouraged her to change her surname to something he thought would look better up on a marquee,  hence the O’Hara we now know.

She  went on to star in many more  films, including The Hunchback of Notre Dame(1939),  How Green Was My Valley (1941), which won an Oscar for best picture,  The Black Swan (with Tyrone Power, 1942) and Sinbad the Sailor (with Douglas Fairbanks, 1947).    But she is  best known for her role in the classic film Miracle on 34th Street(1947) and for her on screen chemistry with  long-time friend, John Wayne,   appearing with him  in Rio Grande(1950), The Quiet Man(1952) and Wings of Eagles(1957).

Maureen worked with some of Hollywood’s most illustrious costume designers, including Edward Stevenson,  Adele Palmer and Yvonne Wood.

This lovely ladylike frock from the Quiet Man,  was designed by Adele Palmer.


Maureen O'Hara in The Quiet Man (1952) Costumes by Adele Palmer.

Maureen O’Hara in The Quiet Man (1952) Costumes by Adele Palmer.

Edward Stevenson,  who designed costumes for many famous films including Citizen Kane, Gunga Din, Cheaper by the Dozen and It’s a Wonderful Life,  put Maureen in this gorgeous green satin number for her role in Redhead of Wyoming(1953)

Maureen O'Hara is green satin gown-Edward Stevenson design

Maureen O’Hara is green satin gown-Edward Stevenson design

Though a black and white image, this is actually another green satin beauty. Designed by Yvonne Wood,  for Maureen’s character in Baghdad(1949). It seems designers loved putting her in green, probably because it complemented her ivory complexion, red hair and emerald eyes!

Maureen O'Hara-Baghdad 1949-gown design by Yvonne Wood

Maureen O’Hara-Baghdad 1949-gown design by Yvonne Wood


Ms. O’Hara is celebrating her 93rd birthday today with a party in her honor, including a marathon of her films  in her current hometown of Boise, Idaho.

Mae West

Mae West in a promo shot for Goin’ to Town, 1935. Costumes by Travis Banton.

Our other birthday gal today is the  sultry Ms. Mae West. A  controversial actress, singer and playright,  this buxom babe made a name for herself with her risque double entendres  that often had studios in an uproar.  She liked to ad lib her lines and while this sometimes caused a problem with the censors – it delighted the audiences!

Mae West in Belle of the Nineties. (1934) Costumes by Travis Banton.

Mae West in Belle of the Nineties. (1934) Costumes by Travis Banton.

She appeared in many box office successes throughout the 1930s, including Academy Award nominated She Done Him Wrong (with Cary Grant, 1933),    I’m No Angel (with Cary Grant, 1935)  in which she purred her famous line “Why don’t you come up and see me sometime?” and  Klondike Annie (1936) a film covering hypocrisy and religion that so enraged William Randolph Hearst, who felt it was  sacriligeous,  that he refused to allow any advertising of the film in any of his newspapers.

West often worked with famous Hollywood costume designer Travis Banton.  He is credited with creating her distinctive “sex goddess”  look.   Banton said he stuck to a simple formula when dressing West, “Diamonds – lots of ’em and huge hats, feather boas, fox stoles, and vertical panels of light material or brilliants, with darker side panels to slim her down.”


Mae West in Belle of the Nineties (1934). Costumes by Travis Banton.

Mae West in Belle of the Nineties (1934). Costumes by Travis Banton.

Both of today’s birthday gals  played a pivotal role in creating a place in Hollywood for strong, independent and sexy women who weren’t afraid to speak their minds!

Do you have a favorite Maureen O’Hara movie or Mae West quote? Please feel free to share :)

Have a glamourous day!


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