'Oh Maureen, my darling, I love you so much! Your face is in my dreams,' wrote John Ford
John Ford and Maureen O'Hara circa 1955: director's feelings for the actress are evident in a letter soon to be auctioned. Photograph: Hulton Archive/Getty Images
The professional relationship between Maureen O'Hara and the film director John Ford is among the most chronicled in Hollywood history.
Together the Irish screen beauty and the Irish-American, who was born Seán Aloysius O'Feeney, made several films over a 20-year period most notably How Green Was My Valley, which won the Oscar for best picture in 1941, and their most famous collaboration, The Quiet Man, released in 1952.
The relationship between the irascible Ford, who was 26 years her senior, and O'Hara was frequently tempestuous and oscillated between extreme affection and, in Ford's case, violence.
He punched her once on set. In her autobiography, 'Tis Herself, published in 2004, O'Hara, who died aged 95 in 2015, speculated: "For years I wondered why John Ford grew to hate me so much. I couldn't understand what made him say and do so many terrible things to me. I realise now that he didn't hate me at all. He loved me very much and even thought that he was in love with me."
The extent of Ford's affections for O'Hara are laid bare in a recently discovered letter which her grandson, Conor Fitzsimons, found in his grandmother's house.