The BFI Fellowships

Presented by His Royal Highness Prince Charles

Maureen O'Hara

"Her spirit, charm and beauty have given everyone a glimpse
into some of the Irish people's most special qualities"
Former US President Ronald Reagan

"Maureen O'hara is a true professional and one of the most
talented actresses I have ever worked with. She really is one
helluva dame!"
John Wayne

"A vision of loveliness"
The New York Times

"She never lets anything bother her. She's still the best bloody
actress in Hollywood."
John Ford

"One of the most eternally welcome of leading ladies"
David Shipman

Maureen's Acceptance speech:
(I was fortunate to have received a video tape and program of the evenings ceremonies from
the British Film Institute and am providing a transcript of Maureen's speech below)

Your Royal Highness Prince Charles, ladies and gentlemen and distinguished and members of the British Film Institute.
 It is very difficult to find words to express how honored I feel to receive the BFI Fellowship Award this evening.

As many of you may know, but a lot of people don't know, I was born in Ireland and grew up there in the theater, winning practically all of the awards of the different feishes in the country for both recitation, Shakespeare and just ordinary plays.  My sponsor when I was accepted at the Abbey Theater was Lennox Robinson, the wonderful playright.  But it was Charles Laughton who was responsible for my movie career.

Charles Laughton and Eric Pommer (who was the great producer of UFA in Germany).  Before the war he came to England and Charles Laughton and Eric Pommer formed Mayflower Pictures.  I am very proud to have been the only performer who was ever signed by Charles Laughton and Eric Pommer.  I was signed to a 7 year contract starting at the magnificent sum of 5 pounds sterling week.

As a teenager I was very fortunate to have worked with the great names in the British theatrical world and I learned so  much from watching them. If I may take a moment I'd like to name just some of them; we'd be here all night if I named them all. Naturally, people like Charles Laughton and Eric Pommer, but also Alfred Hitchcock, with whom I made "Jamaica Inn"  and Robert Newton, Leslie Banks, Marie Ney, Richard Llewellyn, A.E. Matthews, J. M. Kerrigan, Mervin Johns, C. Aubrey Smith, Noel Coward, Alec Guinnes, Finlay Curry, Roddy McDowall, Carol Reed, Cedric Hardwick, Hayley and Juliet Mills , Anna Lee, Robert Morley, Dame Sybill Thorndyke and I could go on and on all evening.  I want to thank those of the committee who voted me this honor this evening.  A special thanks must go to all of those performers with whom I was  lucky to have worked and who helped me on my way.

Note: Maureen and Clint Eastwood joined a gallery of extremely distinguished past honorees -  a few of whom I shall list here:

Dame Peggy Ashcroft - Lord Attenborough - Sir Dirk Bogarde - Lord Brabourne
Lord Bernstein - Marcel Carné - Bette Davis - Deborah Kerr
Sir Alec Guinness - Lord Olivier - Dame Maggie Smith
Orson Wells - Vanessa Redgrave CBE

Comments by Jeremy Thomas
Chairman, British Film Institute
on this occasion in 1993

"....Maureen O'Hara is a name synonymous with the magic of Hollywood.
From the Hunchback of Notre Dame to her most recent film, "Only the Lonely,"
she has bewitchesd us all over the years and we are delilghted to
be able to honor her tonight."

 (Note - on this page of the original program all of Maureen's film credits were listed.)