Mary O'Hara: Biography

Mary O'Hara

10 jul 1885

Mary O’Hara Alsop was an American novelist and screenwriter from New Jersey. She was born in Cape May point in 1885 and named after her maternal grandmother. She was a direct descendent of the Quaker entrepreneur, William Penn.

O’Hara received no real training to become a writer but she began to work as a screenwriter in Hollywood after the end of her marriage to Kent Kane Parrot in the late 1910s. She worked on a wide variety of movies during the silent film era and has writing credits on films such as Braveheart (1925) and the Prisoner of Zenda (1922). O’Hara remarried and moved out to the countryside to run a sheep ranch with her new husband, Helge Sture-Vasa. When the Great Depression hit, they were no longer able to make a profit from the sheep and O’Hara’s typewriter became her most lucrative source of income for the family.

She started to write stories set on a ranch in Wyoming. Her most successful novels at the time were My Friend Flicka, published in 1941 and Green Grass of Wyoming, published in 1946. My Friend Flicka was adapted and made into a film in 1943 and a television series was made from the series of books which was aired from 1956-1957. She was also a talented musician and composed a musical, The Catch Colt, and several pieces of music for piano.

Mary O’Hara continued to write and compose well into her later years. She moved to Maryland in 1968, where she lived happily until her death of arteriosclerosis in 1980. She was 95.