Image of Maureen O'Sullivan

Maureen O'Sullivan

Maureen Paula O'Sullivan was born in County Roscommon, Ireland, on May 17, 1911. The future mother of Mia Farrow was a schooldays classmate of Vivien Leigh at the Convent of the Sacred Heart at Roehampton in London. Even as a schoolgirl, Maureen desired an acting career; she studied hard and read widely. When the opportunity to be an actress came along, it almost dropped in her lap. The director Frank Borzage was in Dublin filming “Song o’ My Heart” (1930) when Maureen, then 18, met him. Borzage suggested a screen test, which she took. The results were more than favorable, as she won the part of Eileen O’Brien. The part was a substantial one, so much so that Maureen went on to Hollywood to complete the filming. Once in sunny California, Maureen wasted no time landing roles in other films such as “Just Imagine” (1930), “Princess and the Plumber” (1930), and “So This Is London” (1930). Maureen was on a roll that her contemporaries could only have wished for when they were coming up through the ranks. In 1932, Maureen was teamed up with Olympic medal winner Johnny Weissmuller for the first time in “Tarzan the Ape Man” (1932). Five other Tarzan films followed, the last being “Tarzan’s New York Adventure” (1942). The Tarzan epics rank as one of the most memorable series ever made. Most people agree that those movies would not have been successful had it not been for the fine acting talents, not to mention beauty, of Maureen O’Sullivan. But she was more than Jane Parker in the Tarzan films; she had great roles and played beautifully in films such as “The Flame Within” (1935), “David Copperfield” (1935), and “Anna Karenina” (1935). She turned in yet another fine performance in “Pride and Prejudice” (1940). After the 1940s, Maureen made far fewer films, not because she lost popularity but by choice. It isn’t always easy to walk away from a lucrative career, but she did because she wanted to devote more time to her husband, John Farrow, an Australian writer, and their seven children. The couple were married from 1936 until his death in 1963. She did not, however, retire completely; Maureen still found time to make an occasional appearance in films or TV or on the stage. Later movie-goers remember her as Elizabeth Alvorg in the hit film “Peggy Sue Got Married” (1986). Her final silver screen appearance was in “The River Pirates” (1988). Some TV movies followed, but only until 1996. She maintained homes in New Hampshire and Arizona, and it was in Scottsdale that Maureen died on June 23, 1998, of a heart attack. She was 87 years old.

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May 17, 1911 In Boyle, County Roscommon, Ireland
Movie/TV Credits:
First Appeared:
In the movie So This Is London 1930-06-06
Latest Project:
Movie Tarzan Revisited 2017-04-28
Known For
Poster of Peggy Sue Got Married
Poster of Hannah and Her Sisters
Poster of Hollywood - The Second Step
Poster of Tarzan the Ape Man
Movie Tarzan Revisited Herself (archive footage) 2017-04-28
Movie Where Danger Lives: White Rose for Julie Unknown 2007-07-31
Movie Checking Out: Grand Hotel Self (archive footage) 2004-02-03
Movie Complicated Women Herself (archive footage) 2003-05-06
Movie In Search of Tarzan with Jonathan Ross Herself 1998-12-22
Movie Hart to Hart: Home Is Where the Hart Is Eleanor Biddlecomb 1994-02-18
Movie With Murder in Mind Aunt Mildred 1992-05-12
Movie The Habitation of Dragons Helen Taylor 1992-09-08
Movie Stranded Grace Clark 1987-11-20
Movie Hannah and Her Sisters Norma 1986-02-07
Movie Peggy Sue Got Married Elizabeth Alvorg 1986-10-10
Movie Too Scared to Scream Marian Hardwick 1985-01-04
Movie Morning's at Seven Esther "Esty" Crampton 1982-01-01
Movie Mandy's Grandmother Unknown 1978-01-01
Movie It's Showtime Unknown 1976-03-31
Movie That's Entertainment, Part II (archive footage) 1976-05-16
Movie The Great Houdinis Lady Conan Doyle 1976-10-08
Movie The Crooked Hearts Lillian Stanton 1972-11-08
Movie The Phynx Maureen O'Sullivan 1970-03-06
Movie Never Too Late Edith Lambert 1965-11-04
Series Ben Casey Unknown 1961-10-02
Movie Wild Heritage Emma Breslin 1958-08-01
Movie The Tall T Doretta Mims 1957-04-02
Movie The Edge of Innocence Julia Williams 1957-10-31
Movie The Blessed Midnight Sister Mary Benedict 1956-12-18
Movie The Little Lamb: A Christmas Story Mother 1955-01-01
Series Matinee Theater Unknown 1955-10-31
Movie Duffy of San Quentin Gladys Duffy 1954-03-16
Series The Whistler Unknown 1954-07-13
Series Climax! Unknown 1954-10-07
Movie The Steel Cage Gladys Duffy 1954-12-01
Movie All I Desire Sara Harper 1953-07-03
Movie Mission Over Korea Nancy Slocum 1953-08-01
Movie Bonzo Goes to College Marion Gateson Drew 1952-09-01
Movie Ellis in Freedomland The Dishwasher (voice) 1952-06-15
Series Cavalcade of America Unknown 1952-10-01
Movie No Resting Place Nan Kyle 1951-01-12
Series Search for Tomorrow Unknown 1951-09-03
Series Schlitz Playhouse of Stars Unknown 1951-10-05
Series What's My Line? Self - Mystery Guest 1950-02-02
Movie Screen Actors Herself 1950-05-13
Movie Where Danger Lives Julie Dorn 1950-11-16
Series Lux Video Theatre Unknown 1950-10-02
Movie The Big Clock Georgette Stroud 1948-03-18
Movie Tarzan's New York Adventure Jane 1942-05-01
Movie Tarzan's Secret Treasure Jane 1941-12-01
Movie Maisie Was a Lady Abby Rawlston 1941-01-10
Movie Hollywood: Style Center of the World Herself 1940-05-29
Movie Pride and Prejudice Jane Bennet 1940-07-26
Movie Sporting Blood Linda Lockwood 1940-07-11
Movie Let Us Live Mary Roberts 1939-03-29
Movie Tarzan Finds a Son! Jane Parker 1939-06-16
Movie A Yank at Oxford Molly Beaumont 1938-02-18
Movie Hold That Kiss June Evans 1938-05-13
Movie The Crowd Roars Sheila 'Shelia' Carson 1938-08-06
Movie Spring Madness Alexandra Benson 1938-11-11
Movie Port of Seven Seas Madelon 1938-07-01
Movie A Day at the Races Judy Standish 1937-06-11
Movie The Emperor's Candlesticks Maria Orlich 1937-07-02
Movie The Romance of Celluloid Herself 1937-08-26
Movie Between Two Women Claire Donahue 1937-07-09
Movie My Dear Miss Aldrich Martha Aldrich 1937-09-17
Movie The Voice of Bugle Ann Camden Terry 1936-02-15
Movie Hollywood - The Second Step Herself 1936-06-02
Movie The Devil-Doll Lorraine Lavond 1936-07-10
Movie Tarzan Escapes Jane 1936-11-06
Movie Cardinal Richelieu Lenore 1935-04-18
Movie David Copperfield Dora Spenlow 1935-01-18
Movie The Flame Within Linda Belton 1935-05-17
Movie West Point of the Air 'Skip' Carter 1935-03-23
Movie Woman Wanted Ann 1935-08-02
Movie The Bishop Misbehaves Hester Grantham 1935-09-13
Movie Anna Karenina Kitty 1935-08-30
Movie Screen Snapshots No. 11 Herself 1934-01-01
Movie The Thin Man Dorothy Wynant 1934-05-25
Movie Tarzan and His Mate Jane Parker 1934-04-20
Movie Hide-Out Pauline Miller 1934-08-24
Movie The Barretts of Wimpole Street Henrietta Barrett 1934-09-21
Movie Tugboat Annie Patricia 'Pat' Severn 1933-08-04
Movie Stage Mother Shirley Lorraine 1933-09-29
Movie Fast Companions Sally 1932-06-22
Movie The Silver Lining Joyce Moore 1932-04-16
Movie Tarzan the Ape Man Jane Parker 1932-04-02
Movie Skyscraper Souls Lynn Harding 1932-07-16
Movie Payment Deferred Winnie Marble 1932-11-07
Movie Strange Interlude Madeline Arnold 1932-12-30
Movie Robbers' Roost Helen Herrick 1932-12-30
Movie Okay, America! Sheila Barton 1932-09-08
Movie A Connecticut Yankee Alisande / Woman in Mansion 1931-04-06
Movie Skyline Katherine Kearny 1931-10-11
Movie The Big Shot Doris Thompson 1931-12-31
Movie So This Is London Elinor Worthing 1930-06-06
Movie Song o' My Heart Eileen 1930-09-06
Movie Just Imagine LN-18 1930-11-23
Movie The Princess and the Plumber Princess Louise 1930-12-21