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Maureen O'Sullivan was born in Roscommon, Ireland in 1911. She went to the same convent school in Dublin that Vivien Leigh attended, and at the same time! After graduating, she began working with the poor, but happened to meet American director Frank Borzage, who invited her to take a screen test, and she was given a part in a Hollywood movie. She made 9 movies for four studios, and then signed a contract with MGM, where she became a protege of Irving Thalberg. He chose her to be Jane in Tarzan the Ape Man in 1932, and also gave her prominent roles in other major MGM productions, including in The Thin Man, David Copperfield, Anna Karenina, A Day at the Races, and many others, including two Tarzan sequels. In 1936 Thalberg died, and she received less important roles at MGM, although they still put her in lots of movies. She married Australian writer John Farrow in 1936, and they had their first child in 1939, which slowed her pace of movies, but she still appeared in three more Tarzan movies, and a few others. In 1942 they had their second child, and her husband contracted typhoid during the war, and she retired to take care of her husband and children (they would go on to have seven children in all). Her final movie of this period was fittingly a Tarzan movie, Tarzan's New York Adventure, and it was one of the most enjoyable of the series. Her husband became a director, and she came out of retirement to appear in his The Big Clock in 1948, and a few other movies, plus some TV appearances. Her husband passed away in 1963, and she continued doing some acting. Three of her daughters became actresses, with Mia Farrow and Tisa the best known. A fourth daughter, Prudence, was the inspiration for the Beatles song, Dear Prudence! She will forever be best remembered as the original Jane in the Tarzan movies (she was SO popular in that role that Jane was written out of the next few Tarzan movies, because MGM thought the public would not accept another actress in that role!). But she was also one of MGM's leading female stars of the 1930s, appearing in almost 50 movies between 1930 and 1942! Maureen passed away in 1998 at the age of 87.
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