Bronwyn FitzSimons, the only child of the late Irish Hollywood legend Maureen O’Hara, has passed away. FitzSimons, 71, was found dead in her cottage in Glengariff, Co. Cork. Her death is not being treated as suspicious at this time. The Irish Times reports that she was last seen locally on Tuesday, and that a home helper found her sitting in an armchair. Bronwyn spent her time between Ireland and St Croix in the US Virgin Islands where her mother had a house and ran an airline after her husband Charles Blair’s death in 1978.
Bronwyn was O’Hara’s daughter with the American film director William Houston Price, whom O’Hara wed in 1941 and divorced in 1953. She took her mother’s original maiden name, FitzSimons. She was named after the character played by actress Anna Lee in the film How Green Was My Valley, in which O’Hara starred.The Quiet Man star helped her daughter to follow in her footsteps, getting her a cameo in the film Spencer’s Mountain in 1963.
Like many offspring of famous people she found being Maureen O’Hara’s daughter a tough act at times and though her mother helped her into the movie industry she didn’t take naturally to that life. Bronwyn went on to appear in TV shows such as The Virginian and McHale’s Navy, and in the film The Rangers. She found out her father, Will Price, had died when she was on vacation in 1962 with her mother and Lucille House (Maureen’s stand in). Maureen said: “This is the happiest day of my life”!
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She was involved in a road accident in her 40’s which left her in constant pain, taking pain killers and with reduced mobility. She ran for some years the Cafe De La Paix in Glengariff and it was not a success, being full of antique furniture but empty of customers. Friends report the somewhat surreal experience of going into an empty cafe and having after a while to seek Bronwyn out in the kitchen to get served. Her pain from her injuries also led to her drinking. She was also involved in a further accident locally where her automatic car mounted the pavement and seriously injured several pedestrians.
She is survived by her son, Conor Beau FitzSimons, with whom O’Hara spent the last year of her life in Idaho, and her grandchildren, Everest and Bailey.
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O’Hara passed away last October at the age of 95 and was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery, next to her husband, US Navy pilot General Charles Blair who died in a plane crash in 1978. There will be considerable sadness in Glengariff at Bronwyn’s passing and the end of the last tangible connection to the O’Hara family.
When Maureen died last year her home overlooking Glengariff Harbour had already been sold and there was sadness locally not just at her passing but that the plans for her Film Centre and Archive had not come to pass. Maureen was literally part of the furniture having an armchair at O’Casey’s Hotel reserved for her when she was in town. She, and no doubt Bronwyn, will be remembered with affection in the town at the end of June when the Maureen O’Hara and Charles Blair Memorial Tournament takes place at Glengariff Golf Club where Maureen was President and Bronwyn a frequent visitor.
Bronwyn Bridgid Price (Bronwyn FitzSimons ) American actress and daughter of Maureen O’Hara – Born 30 June 1944, Los Angeles, California, USA – Died: 24 May 2016, Glengarriff, Ireland
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