TTLG Author/Illustrator Profiles

Mary O'Hara

Mary O'Hara

The beloved author of "My Friend Flicka," was born Mary O'Hara Alsop on July 10, 1885, in Cape May Point, New Jersey. She was the third child of the Reverend Dr. Reese Fell Alsop, an Episcopal clergyman, and of Mary Lee Spring. Her siblings were her sister Elma, the eldest; followed by older brother Reese; and younger sister Bess. Mary O'Hara was named after her maternal grandmother, Mary O'Hara Spring (nee Denny).

Mary O'Hara grew up in Brooklyn Heights, New York. In 1905 she married Kent Kane Parrot and moved to California where she became a screen writer during the silent film era. Her second marriage to Helge Sture-Vasa, in 1922, brought her to Wyoming, and there she wrote the three classics about the range country under the name of Mary O'Hara, "My Friend Flicka" (Lippincott, 1941), "Thunderhead" (Lippincott, 1943), and "Green Grass of Wyoming" (Lippincott, 1946). Several motion picture films have been produced from these books: "My Friend Flicka" was filmed by Twentieth Century-Fox in 1943; followed by a sequel, "Thunderhead, Son of Flicka," in 1945; and "Green Grass of Wyoming" was filmed by Twentieth Century-Fox in 1948. An ABC-TV series was also based on "My Friend Flicka" in 1957. "My Friend Flicka" has been translated and published in several languages.

A year after divorce in 1947, Mary O'Hara returned to the East and made her home in Monroe, Connecticut. At this time she had her maiden name restored as her legal name. Finally, in 1968, she settled in Chevy Chase, Maryland where she resided until her death on October 14, 1980.

Other books by Mary O'Hara include: "Let Us Say Grace," (Christopher, 1930); "The Son of Adam Wyngate" (McKay, 1952); an autobiographical work, "Novel-in-the-Making" (Mckay, 1954); "Wyoming Summer" (Doubleday, 1963) based on her diary of sixteen years; and her autobiography, published posthumously, "Flicka's Friend" (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1982).