Ellen O'Hara (nee Robillard) is the mother of Katie Scarlett O'Hara, Susan Elinor (Suellen) O'Hara, Caroline Ireen (Careen) and three sons all named Gerald O'Hara Jr. She is also the wife of Gerald O'Hara. Daughter of Solange and Pierre Robillard, she grew up in Savannah and fell in love with her cousin, Phillippe Robillard. However, he was killed before she turned fifteen and soon after she married Gerald O'Hara, an Irish imigrant. She was raised by Mammy (as were her girls). She is thirty at the start of the novel. In the 1939 film she is portrayed by Barbara O'Neil
Ellen is nearly worshipped by Scarlett as being a perfect "lady" and an example of what Scarlett should become. Scarlett thinks that she will become like Ellen when she has time and throughout the novel wonders what Ellen would think of her. However, this dream of Scarlett's is never realized.
Ellen's personality is described as being calm, kind and gracious. She is known to nurse the sourrounding families including Emmie Slattery despite the disapproval of Mammy and Gerald. She is the true runner of Tara but let's Gerald think he is. She is well thought of in the area surrounding Tara and in Savannah and Atlanta. Her hands are, according to scarlett, always busy and her back never touches the chair. She spends much time in her office, dealing with the affairs of the plantation.
Ellen O'Hara dies of Typhoid near the end of the war, as Sherman's men come through the area destroying plantations. The army doctor tends to Suellen, Careen and her but is not able to save Ellen. Ellen's death is the end of Gerald as well.
Barbara O'Neil was only four years older than screen-daughter, Vivien Leigh.