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Maureen O'Sullivan
Born Maureen Paula O'Sullivan
(1911-05-17)17 May 1911
Boyle, County Roscommon, Ireland
Died 23 June 1998(1998-06-23) (aged 87)
Scottsdale, Arizona, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1930–94
Spouse(s) John Farrow (m. 1936–1963; his death; 7 children)
James Cushing (m. 1983–1998; her death)

Maureen Paula O'Sullivan (17 May 1911 – 23 June 1998) was an Irish actress best known for playing Jane in the Tarzan series of films starring Johnny Weissmüller.

Early life[edit]

O'Sullivan was born in Boyle, County Roscommon, Ireland in 1911, the daughter of Mary (née Frazer)[1] and Charles Joseph O'Sullivan, an officer in the Connaught Rangers who served in World War I.[2] She was of Irish, English and Scottish ancestry.[3] She attended a convent school in Dublin, then the Convent of the Sacred Heart at Roehampton (now Woldingham School), England. One of her classmates there was Vivian Mary Hartley, future Academy Award-winning actress Vivien Leigh. After attending finishing school in France, O'Sullivan returned to Dublin to work with the poor.[citation needed]

Film career[edit]

O'Sullivan's film career began when she met motion picture director Frank Borzage who was doing location filming on Song o' My Heart for 20th Century Fox. He suggested she take a screen test. She did and won a part in the movie, which starred Irish tenor John McCormack. She traveled to the United States to complete the movie in Hollywood. O'Sullivan appeared in six movies at Fox, then made three more at other movie studios.

In 1932, she signed a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. After several roles there and at other movie studios, she was chosen by Irving Thalberg to appear as Jane Parker in Tarzan the Ape Man, opposite co-star Johnny Weissmuller. She was one of the more popular ingenues at MGM throughout the 1930s and appeared in a number of other productions with various stars. In all, O'Sullivan played Jane in six features between 1932 and 1942.[4]

in Pride and Prejudice (1940)

She also starred with William Powell and Myrna Loy in The Thin Man (1934) and played Kitty in Anna Karenina (1935) with Greta Garbo and Basil Rathbone. She appeared as Molly Beaumont in A Yank at Oxford (1938), which was written partly by F. Scott Fitzgerald. At her request, he rewrote her part to give it substance and novelty.

She played another Jane in Pride and Prejudice (1940) with Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson, and supported Ann Sothern in Maisie Was a Lady (1941). After appearing in Tarzan's New York Adventure (1942), O'Sullivan asked MGM to release her from her contract so she could care for her husband who had just left the Navy with typhoid. She retreated from show business, devoting her time to her family. In 1948, she re-appeared on the screen in The Big Clock, directed by her husband for Paramount Pictures. She continued to appear occasionally in her husband's movies and on television. However, by 1960 she believed she had permanently retired. In 1958, Farrow's and O'Sullivan's eldest son, Michael, died in a plane crash in California.

Actor Pat O'Brien encouraged her to take a part in summer stock, and the play A Roomful of Roses opened in 1961. That led to another play, Never Too Late, in which she co-starred with Paul Ford in what was her Broadway debut. Shortly after it opened on Broadway John Farrow died of a heart attack. O'Sullivan stuck with acting after Farrow's death: she was the Today Girl for NBC for a while, then made the movie version of Never Too Late (1965) for Warner Bros.. She was also an executive director of a bridal consulting service, Wediquette International. In June and July 1972, O'Sullivan was in Denver, Colorado, to star in the Elitch Theatre production of Butterflies are Free with Karen Grassle and Brandon deWilde. The show ended on July 1, 1972. Five days later (on July 6, 1972), while still in Denver, deWilde was killed in a motor vehicle accident.[5][6]

When her daughter, actress Mia Farrow, became involved with Woody Allen both professionally and romantically, she appeared in Hannah and Her Sisters, playing Farrow's mother. She had roles in Peggy Sue Got Married (1986) and the science fiction oddity Stranded (1987). Mia Farrow named one of her own sons Satchel Ronan O'Sullivan Farrow for her mother.[citation needed]

The handprints of Maureen O'Sullivan in front of The Great Movie Ride at Walt Disney World's Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park.

In 1994, O'Sullivan appeared with Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers in Hart to Hart: Home Is Where the Hart Is, a feature-length made-for-TV movie with the wealthy husband-and-wife team from the popular weekly detective series Hart to Hart.

Personal life[edit]

O'Sullivan's first husband was Australian-born writer, award-winning director and Catholic convert John Farrow, from 12 September 1936 until his death on 28 January 1963. She and Farrow were the parents of seven children: Michael Damien (1939–1958), Patrick Joseph (1942–2009), Maria de Lourdes Villiers (Mia Farrow, born 1945), John Charles (born 1946),[7] Prudence Farrow, Stephanie Farrow and Theresa Magdalena "Tisa" Farrow.

A widow for twenty years, O'Sullivan was married to her second husband, James Cushing, from 22 August 1983 until her death in 1998.


Maureen O'Sullivan died in Scottsdale, Arizona of complications from heart surgery on 23 June 1998, at age 87. O'Sullivan is buried at Most Holy Redeemer Cemetery, Niskayuna, New York, her widower's hometown.


O'Sullivan has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6541 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California, facing the star of Johnny Weissmuller. A black plaque marks her home on Main Street in Boyle, County Roscommon, Ireland. Just around the corner from there, opposite King House, is a tree, ceremonially planted by O'Sullivan to mark her return to her birthplace.

In 1982, O'Sullivan was awarded The George Eastman Award, given by George Eastman House for distinguished contribution to the art of film.


Feature films

Short subjects

  • Hollywood Extra: The First Step (1936)
  • Hollywood - The Second Step (1936)
  • Unusual Occupations: Film Tot Holiday (1947)
  • Screen Snapshots: Hollywood Shower of Stars (1955)
  • Mandy's Grandmother (1978)

Television work[edit]


  1. ^ Maureen O'Sullivan genealogy, showing mother's true maiden name
  2. ^ Film Reference profile for Maureen O'Sullivan
  3. ^ Biodata, imdb.com; accessed 12 March 2014.
  4. ^ Child, Ben (28 December 2011). "Chimp claimed as Cheetah from the Tarzan films dies". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  5. ^ Remembering Brandon.net/A Word on the Elitch Theatre
  6. ^ McLean, Patrisha, All Fall Down, The Brandon deWilde Story c. 2012, Faces, Incorporated, pp. 170, 173; ISBN 978-1936447121
  7. ^ California Births 1905-1995

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maureen_O'Sullivan — Please support Wikipedia.
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17600 videos foundNext > 

Maureen O'Sullivan talks about Tarzan

Maureen O'Sullivan talking about her Tarzan days. There is also a pretty cool clip of Johnny Weissmuller reflecting on it from the sixties. Mgmingenues3.

Tarzan and His Mate - River Scene

Johnny Weissmuller & Maureen O'Sullivan, 1934.

Maureen O Sullivan / Jane : si belle

Movie Legends - Maureen O'Sullivan

Born in Ireland, a popular 1930's MGM actress.

"Song o' My Heart", starring John McCormack

Past his prime at this point in his life, but the great tenor should be seen as well as heard. This movie is a delightful snapshot of a time & place long ago...

Maureen O'Sullivan Talks about Groucho Marx and Cheetah

DL interview with Maureen O'Sullivan on March 24, 1986. It is Hilarious.

Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O'Sullivan, Tarzan of the Apes

Includes risque, but beautiful footage shot in Silver Springs.

Maureen O'Sullivan Vintage Beauty Cute and Sexy Drunk Scenes from Skyscraper Souls

Gorgeous vintage doll Maureen O'Sullivan (Jane from the Tarzan flicks) gets drunk on champagne in this pre-code flick. Cute hiccups around 2:00.

Tarzan - 1934 - Tarzan and His Mate - Johnny Weismuller - Maureen Sullivan.

An Olympic swimmer named Josephine McKim temporarily replaces Maureen O'Sullivan as Jane during the skinny dipping. With Maureen back being Jane she gets out...

Barbara Walters on actress Maureen O'Sullivan's short-lived job on the Today show

Barbara Walters on actress Maureen O'Sullivan's short-lived job on the Today show. For more on this and over 600 interviews, please visit emmytvlegends.org.

17600 videos foundNext > 

46 news items

Irish Mirror

Irish Mirror
Tue, 15 Apr 2014 08:42:01 -0700

Those listed and called upon were Fianna Fáil's Michael McGrath, Eamon O'Cuiv, Dara Calleary, who stepped out of the Chamber briefly), Sean Fleming, Charlie McConalogue, Independent TDs Catherine Murphy, Maureen O'Sullivan, Tommy Broughan and ...

La Estrella Digital

La Estrella Digital
Fri, 04 Apr 2014 12:52:30 -0700

Había acudido a visitarla Fay Wray luego de almorzar con Maureen O'Sullivan. Las tres, Juanita, Fay y Maureen, posarían al día siguiente para el cartelón publicitario de una cerveza. Fay Wray, antes que actriz, había sido instructora y consejera ...

Irish Times

Irish Times
Fri, 28 Mar 2014 13:02:46 -0700

Independent TD Maureen O'Sullivan said she could not see why in a democracy, “some citizens should have an extra right to vote because they have happen to have had a third level education”. “Equally, I cannot see why being a Deputy or a counsellor ...

Irish Times

Irish Times
Tue, 25 Mar 2014 15:29:10 -0700

Independent TD Maureen O'Sullivan, speaking for the technical group of Independent TDs, recalled that when she was first elected to the Dáil in a 2009 byelection, her office was alongside Ms McFadden's. She had assisted her greatly in adjusting to the ...
Irish Mirror
Mon, 14 Apr 2014 01:45:15 -0700

Four Independent TDs – John Halligan, Thomas Pringle, Maureen O'Sullivan, Finian McGrath and myself – recently launched the Independents' Network to create a shared platform for Independent candidates. The Network will showcase the many ...

Lewiston Sun Journal

Lewiston Sun Journal
Fri, 04 Apr 2014 21:32:46 -0700

He leaves his wife of 53 years, Maureen O'Sullivan Witter Swain; his brother, Edwin E. Swain Jr. and his wife, Eleanor, of South Carolina and Rangeley; his sister, Henrietta Elizabeth Swain Taft, of Otisfield; his aunt, Isabel Taylor, of Windham; his ...

ABC News

Omaha World-Herald
Mon, 07 Apr 2014 08:56:15 -0700

In this photo, Maureen O'Sullivan, Tracy, producer Considine and Rooney are on a train on their way to the Omaha premiere. Premieres outside Hollywood and New York City were as rare then as they are now. The "Boys Town" premiere drew a crowd of ...
DVD Talk
Thu, 10 Apr 2014 05:49:11 -0700

Indeed, so sexy was "The Queen of the Animated Screen" that like Mae West and Maureen O'Sullivan's Jane in the early Tarzan films, Hollywood's Production Code eventually insisted Betty "put more clothes on," and forced her to assume a subtly degrading, ...

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