Excerpt: 'Tis Herself: A Memoir'

Actress Maureen O'Hara has written a story-packed autobiography called 'Tis Herself: A Memoir, which she describes as "the tale of the toughest Irish lass who ever took on Hollywood and became a major leading lady of the silver screen."

Here is an excerpt:

Chapter One: The Gypsy and the Two-Headed Beast

My whole life was foretold to me. I peered out the crack of our door and found an old Romany Gypsy standing hunched on our porch in the hot afternoon sun. She smiled down at me and took my five-year-old hands in hers, then turned my palms upward and read my fortune. "You will leave Ireland one day and become a very famous woman known all around the world. You are going to make a fortune and be very, very rich." Then she held my hands in the light and cackled, "But it will all slip through your fingers one day." I pulled my hands away and answered with certainty, "I'll never leave Ireland." Then I closed the door.

I thought the old girl was silly. I didn't need a Gypsy to tell me what my place in the world would be. I already knew. I believed from the time I was able to think that I was going to set the world on fire.

You are about to read the tale of the toughest Irish lass who ever took on Hollywood and became a major leading lady of the silver screen. In a career that has lasted for over sixty years, I have acted, punched, swashbuckled, and shot my way through an absurdly masculine profession during the most extraordinary of times. As a woman, I'm proud to say that I stood toe-to-toe with the best of them and made my mark on my own terms. I'm Maureen O'Hara, and this is my life story.

So did the old Gypsy get it right? And who is the real Maureen O'Hara anyway? I bet that's what you really want to know. Before I answer and we begin our journey together, I want to tell you why I've decided to write this book. For one thing, I do feel a sense of responsibility for sharing my thoughts and experiences about the most remarkable era in filmmaking history — Hollywood's golden age. There aren't many of us left who can honestly look back and give you a taste of its delicious insanity and glamour. More important, though, I'm finally ready to confront my long life with open eyes. I'm ready to revisit those treacherous hills I once climbed, and eager to kill any fear deargs (pronounced "far darrigs") that may still be lurking in the shadows. I also want to set the record straight about my life in my own words before some self-serving writer pens a heap of rubbish about me after I'm gone from this earth. My favorite untrue story ever written about me is that I once lived in a magnificent Arabian palace with tall towers and a long swimming pool filled with waters of sapphire blue. Each night, I descended its marble steps and swam from one end to the other, cooling my naked body, while castrated slaves in white turbans and loincloths pointed flaming torches to light my way.

What fabulous rubbish.

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