Maureen O'Sullivan (actress)

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Maureen O'Sullivan

Maureen Paula O'Sullivan (born May 17, 1911 in Boyle , Ireland - † June 23, 1998 in Scottsdale , Arizona ) was an Irish - American actress who starred in six Tarzan films with Johnny Weissmüller became famous.

Maureen O'Sullivan in Tarzan's Retribution , 1934


Maureen O'Sullivan was born in the Irish town of Boyle to a major in the British Army. Coming from a Catholic family, she completed her education at convent schools in London , Paris and Dublin . At the Convent of the Sacred Heart, young Vivien Leigh was also one of her classmates. The handsome O'Sullivan wanted to become an actress from an early age. At the age of 18 she was discovered during a horse show by Hollywood director Frank Borzage , who was shooting the film Song o 'My Heart in Dublin . Borzage gave her a major supporting role in Song o 'My Heart and eventually took her to Hollywood. She shot other films there for 20th Century Fox before falling out with the studio. After her break with Fox, she received a contract from the film producer Irving Thalberg with the then largest film studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer .

Thalberg entrusted O'Sullivan in 1932 with the role of the jungle beauty Jane in the Tarzan films at the side of swimmer star Johnny Weissmueller . She played this role in six films from 1932 to 1942. Her portrayal of Jane also defined later appearances of this character significantly. The first film, Tarzan, the Ape Man , became a box-office hit and the two main characters became famous overnight. In the first two films she was dressed very revealingly, but with the introduction of the Hays Code , the censorship authorities stepped in so that her clothes were longer from now on. Apart from the Tarzan films, she was popular as a performer of ingenious roles, for example in the crime comedy The Thin Man (1934) alongside William Powell and Myrna Loy and on the side of the Marx Brothers in A Day at the Race (1937). Mid-1930s, she also dabbled as a character actress, as Kitty in Anna Karenina with Greta Garbo on the novel by Leo Tolstoy and in the lavish Dickens -Literaturverfilmung David Copperfield . Although she received excellent reviews, especially for her portrayal of the childlike dependent Dora Spenlow in David Copperfield , she received few offers for serious roles. 1938 was O'Sullivan in the partly written by F. Scott Fitzgerald , British comedy The rascal from America to see alongside Robert Taylor . In Robert Z. Leonard's Pride and Prejudice, based on the novel by Jane Austen , she took on the role of Jane Bennett.

After her last appearance as Jane in 1942, O'Sullivan largely retired from the film business. She devoted herself above all to the upbringing of her seven children, including the actresses Tisa and Mia Farrow . In 1936 she had married the Australian screenwriter and film director John Farrow . After John Farrow's death in 1963, she was later married to businessman James Cushing from 1983 until her death in 1998. When Frank Sinatra married Mia Farrow in the 1960s and thus temporarily became O'Sullivan's son-in-law, she said of Sinatra, who was only four years younger than herself: “At his age, he should marry me!”

Occasionally O'Sullivan returned to acting, so she had completed a major appearance in the 1948 film Game with Death , directed by her husband . But in the late 1950s, O'Sullivan began again to continue her acting career on a large scale. She starred in many theatrical productions across America, including many times on Broadway . There she celebrated a great success in 1962 with the lead role in the comedy Never Too Late . In addition, she made repeated appearances in film and television. In 1986 she appeared in Hannah and Her Sisters , directed by Woody Allen , where she also played the mother of Mia Farrow in the film. In 1987 she also played one of the leading roles in Allen's film September . However, Allen was so dissatisfied with the result that he shot the film again with other actors. In Francis Ford Coppola's Peggy Sue got married , she played the grandmother of leading actress Kathleen Turner . O'Sullivan took her last role in 1994 as a murder victim in a television film from the series Hart but Warm . She died in 1998 at the age of 87 after heart surgery. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her cinematic work .

Filmography (selection)

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Obituary in: Der Spiegel , 27/1998.
  2. ^ Obituary for Maureen O'Sullivan in the New York Times
  3. ^ Obituary in: The Independent .
  4. ^ Obituary in the Independent
  5. ^ Obituary in: The New York Times .
  6. ^ Obituary in: The Independent .
  7. Maureen O'Sullivan in the Internet Broadway Database
  8. Maureen O'Sullivan's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Web links

Commons : Maureen O'Sullivan  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files