Brian Aherne (1902 – 1986) was an English actor of stage and screen who made his debut on Broadway in 1931, playing opposite Katharine Cornell. Two years later he went to Hollywood and secured a role in Song of Songs with Marlene Dietrich. In the course of his career he played or starred in 45 films, 14 television shows, and several radio programs. In 1940 he was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor in Juarez.
From 1939 to 1945 Aherne was married to Joan Fontaine (1917 – 2013), a
British-American actress best known for her starring roles in Hollywood
films. Fontaine appeared in more than 45 feature films in a career that
spanned five decades. In 1941 she won an Academy Award for Best Actress in the film Suspicion. It was one of several awards.
An August 21, 1941, newspaper article from Beaufort, NC, notes that "among the guests who registered at [Ocracoke Island's] Wahab Village
Hotel last week were...Mr. and Mrs. Brian Aherne of Beverly Hills,
Calif., the famous movie stars."
Brian Aherne and Joan Fontaine are not the only celebrities to have found their way to Ocracoke. I know, or have heard, that the following famous people have visited Ocracoke: John Dos Passos, Charles Lindbergh, George Hamilton IV, Nicole Kidman, Ellen DeGeneres, Robert Plant, Tom Cruise, Michelle Pfeiffer, Johnny Depp, Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, and Jimmy Buffett.
One islander, when asked if any of the men at the Life Saving Station were aware that well known author, John dos Passos, had visited them, replied, "Probably not, and even if they did know they wouldn't have been much impressed. O'cockers never treated anyone any different just because they were famous."
This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Ocracoke Lodge No. 194,
Independent Order of Odd Fellows. You can read the Newsletter here: /