Roscommon Holiday

Roscommon Ireland

Maureen O'Sullivan - Irish actress, star of 'Tarzan' film series

From: Boyle


Dubbed 'Ireland's first film star', Maureen O'Sullivan was born in Boyle, County Roscommon in May 1911.

From a young age the Roscommon girl wanted to be a pilot or an actress and got a chance to be the latter in 1930 when director Frank Borzage spotted her in Dublin where he was filming Song o' My Heart and invited her to do a screen test. This was such a success that he offered Mareen the role of Eileen in the film.

Once Maureen got her foot in the door in Hollywood there was no stopping the Boyle native. Three more films followed that year and she quickly climbed the ranks and was rewarded with a contract for MGM in 1932. It was not long before she was chosen to play Jane in 'Tarzan the Ape Man' alongside Olympic medal winner Johnny Weissmuller. Five more Tarzan films involving her were produced over a decade as part of one of the most memorable series ever made.

Her talents earned her roles in a number of other films including Pride and Prejudice in 1940. She made the decision in the 1940s to devote more time to her family. In 1936 she married Australian writer John Farrow and they remained together until his death in 1963. They had seven children. She also briefly became mother-in-law to Frank Sinatra during his marriage to her daughter Mia Farrow. Mia, Tisa and Stephanie Farrow followed in their mother's footsteps and became actresses with varying degrees of success.

Maureen was always busy between caring for John Farrow during illness, as well as seven children, she continued to take occasional roles in films and later on television and also ran a bridal consulting service. She married John Cushing in 1983 and remained with him until her death in 1998 at the age of 87.