There have been many artists who are no longer with us but have left an indelible mark. Here are three who weren't Idaho born but decided to spend their final days here.

Gene Harris

Gene Harris, 1933 - 2000, was an accomplished and successful jazz pianist who played in the Washington, D.C area. In 1977, he announced his "semi-retirement" and moved to Boise. He then went on to record 22 albums after signing with Concord Records in the mid-1980s. He played weekly, sometimes daily, at The Idanha Hotel in Boise during the '80s and '90s, and was a beloved Boise entertainer.

Harris taught himself to play the piano at the age of 9. He was influenced by boogie-woogie piano players early on, but refined his playing into a blend of soul, blues and bebop. Harris's album, "Tribute to Count Basie," featured the Gene Harris All-Star Big Band and was nominated for a Grammy award in 1988 for Best Big Band Jazz Instrumental.

In 1998, the Gene Harris Jazz Festival was formed and Harris brought together the best jazz artists to Boise to perform in public concerts at night and work with aspiring young musicians during the day. To date, the festival has brought artists including Dave Brubeck, Ramsey Lewis, Arturo Sandoval, Poncho Sanchez, Kevin Eubanks and many more to the stages in Boise.

The 2019 Gene Harris Jazz Festival is slated for April 4 and 5 at Boise State University.

Maureen O'Hara

Maureen O'Hara, 1920 - 2015, moved to Boise at the age of 92. She died three years later at the age of 95.

O'Hara, who was Irish and had striking red hair, starred in numerous movies, including "Miracle on 34th Street, "How Green Was My Valley, "The Quiet Man, "McClintock," "Big Jake."

She received an honorary Oscar in 2014.

She retired from acting after making "Big Jake," but returned in 1991 for the John Candy film, "Only the Lonely."

O'Hara said Candy was one of her favorite leading men, but her favorite film of all was "The Quiet Man, because of the character O'Hara played. "It is the one I am most proud of, and I tend to be very protective of it," she said. "I loved Mary Kate Danaher. I loved the hell and fire in her."

O'Hara, who also starred in TV movies after her film career, landed a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame among other awards and in 2004, wrote an autobiography, "'Tis Herself."

George Kennedy

George Kennedy, 1925 - 2016, was known as an actor in such successful films as "Cool Hand Luke," "The Dirty Dozen," "The Guns of the Magnificent Senve," and "McHale's Navy." He was nominated for a Golden Globe and won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in "Cool Hand Luke," opposite Paul Newman. He also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Kennedy also starred in comedic roles in all of the "Airport" movies and in the "Naked Gun" series, and played Carter McKay in the TV series "Dallas."

Before he became an actor, Kennedy served in the army in World War II under General George S. Patton and was awarded two Bronze Stars and four rows of combat and service ribbons for his valor. Later, in his film career, Kennedy would go on to portray Patton in the 1978 movie "Brass Target," according to

He moved to Eagle, Idaho with his wife, Joan in 2002. His last role was in "The Gambler" with Mark Wahlberg in 2014. His wife, Joan, preceded Kennedy in death; she died about six months before he did. Kennedy died 10 days after his 91st birthday.

Kennedy once said: "I had the good fortune of speaking with Orson Welles many decades ago and he said 'Success is primarily luck anyway.' And I have been very lucky. Of course, Orson Welles was enormously talented and brilliant — so who am I to argue with him."

Jeanne Huff is the community engagement editor for the Idaho Press. You can reach her at 208-465-8106 and follow her on Twitter @goodnewsgirl.

Community Engagement Editor

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