Sunday 26 October 2014

O'Hara's fired PA hires Belfast lawyer to the stars for libel case

Published 21/07/2013 | 05:00

Maureen O'Hara as a young actress

MAUREEN O'Hara's former assistant has hired a libel lawyer to the stars in response to claims made in the acrimonious dispute raging over the Hollywood icon's legacy.

Carolyn Murphy was fired as Ms O'Hara's personal assistant last summer.

Ms Murphy, who was also a neighbour and friend of Ms O'Hara's in Glengarriff, Co Cork, has hired Belfast lawyer Paul Tweed, who has acted for stars such as Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, Liam Neeson and the Corrs.

Mr Tweed confirmed this weekend that he had "been retained by Carolyn Murphy with a view to taking action in relation to a number of serious false and defamatory allegations".

It is understood Ms Murphy's action is not directed at Ms O'Hara personally but against people close to her.

Ms O'Hara's family have hired one of Dublin's biggest law firms, Arthur Cox, to review the actress's financial affairs as the bitter fallout over her legacy continues.

A dispute erupted after Ms O'Hara lent her name and her support to a film and acting centre which was to be opened in her honour in Glengarriff, under her guidance and with the help of Ms Murphy.

Ms Murphy, the wife of a wealthy American executive, befriended Ms O'Hara after she moved to Glengarrif with her family. Ms O'Hara, who had lived there since 1968, made Ms Murphy her personal assistant and later gave her power of attorney over her affairs.

During the summer, Ms O'Hara announced that she was firing her former assistant at a hastily organised press conference in the presence of her grandson and her American advisers.

The actress later left Glengarriff and moved to Idaho to live with her grandson, Conor Fitzsimons.

And two months ago, she started legal action against a family friend and long- standing lawyer, Howard Gibbs, in New York, to force him to surrender her papers and documents.

Ms O'Hara's relatives have said they were concerned that the actress was doing too much for a woman of her age. However, since her move to Idaho, she has been inundated with offers of public appearances.

She travelled to John Wayne's birthday celebration and she will mark her 93rd birthday next month with a birthday dinner and screening of her movies with the proceeds going to a charity.

The screen idol is also reportedly considering writing a book about her experiences while living in Ireland.

Johnny Nicoletti, who said he was Ms O'Hara's "entertainment manager", said she didn't want to comment on legal matters. "She did want me to share with your readers how happy she is in Boise, what a wonderful life she has there. She lives down the street from her grandson and his wife, and her great grandkids. She's having the time of her life spoiling them and being spoiled by them."

Mr Nicoletti, who co-wrote Ms O'Hara's memoirs, said the actress was currently working on a sequel.

Irish Independent

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