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Irene Dunne

Irene Dunne

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Also Known As: Irene Marie Dunn Died: September 4, 1990
Born: December 20, 1898 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Louisville, Kentucky, USA Profession: actor, singer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Affectionately nicknamed "The Iron Maiden," lovely Irene Dunne hoped to have a career in opera, but her singing skills ultimately led instead to Broadway and movie stardom. On the basis of her early film credits, which were dominated by such dramas as "The Age of Innocence" (1934) and Magnificent Obsession" (1935) and musicals like "Show Boat" (1936), Dunne surprised some critics and audience members with her considerable comedic flair on view in such highly regarded pictures as "Theodora Goes Wild" (1936) and "The Awful Truth" (1937). She also continued to excel in dramatic parts, with her portrayals in "Penny Serenade" (1941) and "I Remember Mama" (1948) being of particular note. In spite of often excellent performances, Dunne never won an Academy Award and that led in later years for her to be called the finest American actress to have never received that honor. Regardless, Dunne was highly respected by her peers and her decision to retire comparatively early was viewed as a way to exit the business on a high note, while she still had some say in the roles being offered. Dunne's talent in the areas of drama, comedy, song and dance made her one of the most multi-facetted performers of the 1930s...

Affectionately nicknamed "The Iron Maiden," lovely Irene Dunne hoped to have a career in opera, but her singing skills ultimately led instead to Broadway and movie stardom. On the basis of her early film credits, which were dominated by such dramas as "The Age of Innocence" (1934) and Magnificent Obsession" (1935) and musicals like "Show Boat" (1936), Dunne surprised some critics and audience members with her considerable comedic flair on view in such highly regarded pictures as "Theodora Goes Wild" (1936) and "The Awful Truth" (1937). She also continued to excel in dramatic parts, with her portrayals in "Penny Serenade" (1941) and "I Remember Mama" (1948) being of particular note. In spite of often excellent performances, Dunne never won an Academy Award and that led in later years for her to be called the finest American actress to have never received that honor. Regardless, Dunne was highly respected by her peers and her decision to retire comparatively early was viewed as a way to exit the business on a high note, while she still had some say in the roles being offered. Dunne's talent in the areas of drama, comedy, song and dance made her one of the most multi-facetted performers of the 1930s and '40s and the consistent quality of that work made her much beloved among fans of classic Hollywood cinema.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 It's Showtime (1976) Herself (Archival Footage)
2.
 It Grows on Trees (1952) Polly Baxter
3.
 Never a Dull Moment (1950) Kay [Kingsley Heyward]
4.
 The Mudlark (1950) Queen Victoria
5.
 I Remember Mama (1948) Mama [Marta Hanson]
6.
 Life with Father (1947) Vinnie [Day]
7.
 Anna and the King of Siam (1946) Anna Owens
8.
 Over 21 (1945) Paula "Polly" Wharton
9.
 A Guy Named Joe (1944) Dorinda Durston
10.
 The White Cliffs of Dover (1944) [Lady] Susan [Dunn] Ashwood
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
After father's death, moved with mother to Madison, Indiana to live with her mother's parents
1920:
Failed singing audition at New York's Metropolitan Opera
1922:
First role on Broadway in "The Clinging Vine"
1930:
Film acting debut in "Leathernecking"
1931:
Confirmed as a star with her role in her second film, "Cimarron"; received her first Oscar nomination as Best Actress
:
After being under exclusive contract to RKO since the start of her career, began freelancing in the mid-1930s
1936:
First notable screwball comedy success, "Theodora Goes Wild"
1937:
Last full-fledged musical, "High, Wide and Handsome"
1948:
Received last of five Oscar nominations as Best Actress for "I Remember Mama"
1952:
Last film, "It Grows on Trees"
1952:
Hosted a season of the TV anthology drama, "Schlitz Playhouse of Stars"
1957:
Appointed alternate delegate to the United Nations' 12th General Assembly by President Eisenhower
1965:
Became a board member of Technicolor
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Loretta Academy: St Louis , Missouri -
Chicago College of Music: Chicago , Illinois - 1919

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Francis Griffen. Dentist. Married in 1927; lived on opposite coasts for part of their marriage.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Joseph John Dunne. Steamship inspector. Died in 1910.
mother:
Adelaide Dunne.
daughter:
Mary Frances Griffen. Adopted in 1936.

Contributions

svecia ( 2007-02-28 )

Source: "Irene Dunne: First Lady of Hollywood" by Wes D. Gehring

Irene Dunne added an "e" to her name early in her career in NYC. Her father's last name was DUNN, not Dunne! Also, her husband's last name was Griffin, not Griffen.

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