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Now’s the time

Calls grow for Oscar to honor Maureen O'Hara

By Ray O'Hanlon

Oscars will be flying around the room at the Academy Awards this weekend, but unless there's a big surprise in the wings one of them will not be ending up in the hands of screen legend Maureen O'Hara.

And that has fans the world over crying foul.

"It is a great time to renew Maureen's case for a lifetime achievement Academy award. Everyone in Ireland is behind her and millions of fans worldwide. She would be a worthy successor to the last two recipients, Lauren Bacall and Eli Wallach," Des MacHale, who teaches at University College Cork and is chairman of the Quiet Man Movie Fan Club, told the Echo.

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"It was not just her Quiet Man role. There was also 'How Green Was My Valley,' 'Miracle on 34th Street,' 'Rio Grande,' and 'The Parent Trap,' to mention just a few. I have campaigned for years, but to no avail. Maureen has given so much to the film world and has never received even a nomination," said MacHale.

As well as being a fan, MacHale is the author of "The Complete Guide to the Quiet Man," "Picture the Quiet Man" and "A Quiet Man Miscellany. He was born and grew up in County Mayo, just a few miles from where "The Quiet Man" was filmed.

MacHale's renewed effort is in part spurred by the fact that Maureen O'Hara now lives with family in Utah, a relatively short flying distance from Los Angeles. And while the star who once owned an airline isn't flying every day, she is anything but grounded.

The John Wayne Birthplace in Winterset, Iowa, in a recent announcment, said it was thrilled to announce that "screen legend Maureen O'Hara and her family" will be joining us in Winterset, Iowa on May 24 and 25 for our annual John Wayne Birthday Celebration."

Added the announcement: "O'Hara, who starred with Wayne in "Rio Grande", "The Quiet Man", "The Wings of Eagles", "McLintock!" and "Big Jake," considered Duke her best friend and, in this public farewell to her legions of fans, she'll discuss their life-long friendship.

"The two-day event will feature all aspects of Wayne's film career including the U.S. Cavalry, cowboys, World War II and, of course, Ireland. In tribute to Miss O'Hara, this year's dinner gala will reprise many of the highlights of last year's Quiet Man celebration (and feature) music from the classic film performed by Irish songstress Catherine O'Connell, Chicago's Shannon Rovers Pipes and Drums, and champion Irish dancers, the Fabulous McKay Sisters."

"If not this year, the Academy of Motion Pictures should be planning right this week to honor Maureen at next year's Oscars," said Des MacHale.