Born in 1898, Irene Dunne was the daughter of a steamship inspector and a musician. She was encouraged in the arts by her parents, and appeared in her first production at age five in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in Louisville. Irene pursued her studies in music, and auditioned…more
Irene claimed that The White Cliffs of Dover was her best piece of work.
Irene was discovered for films while appearing in the first national touring company of "Show Boat" in 1929, in which she played and sang the role of Magnolia.
Irene was close friends with Loretta Young.
Irene and her husband Dennis adopted a child, Mary Frances, in 1938 and at the age of four from the New York Foundling Hospital.
Irene met and married a young dentist from New York in 1928 named Francis Dennis Griffin. She was married to Dr. Griffin until his death in 1965.
Irene's nickname was "First Lady of Hollywood."
Although Irene Dunne is best known for her comedic roles, she favored serious roles and melodramas.
Irene was over thirty when she made her screen debut, which was nearly unheard of for females in Hollywood.
In 1985 Irene was awarded honors from The Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C.) for performing arts, but was too ill to accept them.
Irene was a devout Catholic.
She was one of the most active supporters of the Republican Party in Hollywood, and campaigned for Eisenhower and Nixon, and later supported Ronald Reagan's two runs for Governor of California and his two presidential campaigns.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower named Irene an alternate delegate to the U.N. General Assembly in 1959.
In 1965 she was the first woman elected to Technicolor's board of directors.
Her only color production was Life with Father, made in 1947.
Irene claimed that always getting enough sleep kept her looking young. Her studio contracts allowed her to start work as late as 10 A.M. and leave by 6 P.M.
Her tombstone mistakenly gives her date of birth as 1901 rather than 1898.
She was a classically trained opera singer.
Irene has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6440 Hollywood Blvd. for her contribution to motion pictures.
She was nominated for five best actress Oscars for her performances in Cimarron (1931), Theodora Goes Wild (1936), The Awful Truth (1937), Love Affair (1939) and I Remember Mama (1948).
She was a Republican.
Irene: I don't know why the public took a liking to me so fast. Popularity is a curious thing. The public responds to a dimple, a smile, a giggle, a hairstyle, an attitude. Acting talent has less to do with it than personality.
Irene Dunne: I appeared with many leading men. But working with Cary Grant was different from working with other actors - he was much more fun! I think we were a successful team because we enjoyed working together tremendously, and that pleasure must have shown through onto the screen ... I will always remember two compliments he made me. He said I had perfect timing in comedy and that I was the sweetest-smelling actress he ever worked with.
Irene:(on comedy) It demands more timing, pace, shading and subtlety of emphasis. It is difficult to learn but once it is acquired it can be easily slowed down and becomes an excellent foundation for dramatic acting.
Irene: No triumph of either my stage or screen career has ever rivaled the excitement of trips down the Mississippi on the river boats with my father.
Trying to build the brotherhood of man without the Fatherhood of God is like having the spokes of a wheel without the hub.
Irene: There was one year I did five pictures and I think of all the rewarding other things I could have been accomplishing.
Irene: I'll leave the swearing to the Jane Fondas.
Irene: That's why there are so few women stars today. Pornography has taken away the mystery.
Irene Dunne: Friends invited me to a private screening of Emmanuelle and said I'd learn a few things. But I know all the swear words. I just don't use them. So I declined.