Irene Dunne

Actor, Singer
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 ... Read more »
Born: 12/20/1898 in Louisville, Kentucky, USA

Filmography

Actor (35)

It's Showtime 1975 (Movie)

Herself (Actor)

The General Electric Theater 1952 - 1962 (TV Show)

Actor

The June Allyson Show 1959 - 1961 (TV Show)

Actor

Schlitz Playhouse of Stars 1951 - 1959 (TV Show)

Actor

Life With Father 1947 (Movie)

(Actor)

Anna and the King of Siam 1946 (Movie)

(Actor)

My Favorite Wife 1940 (Movie)

(Actor)

Penny Serenade 1940 (Movie)

(Actor)

Love Affair 1938 (Movie)

(Actor)

When Tomorrow Comes 1938 (Movie)

(Actor)

Show Boat 1936 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Awful Truth 1936 (Movie)

Lucy Warriner (Actor)

Theodora Goes Wild 1935 (Movie)

Theodora Lynn (Actor)

Roberta 1934 (Movie)

Stephanie (Actor)

Cimarron 1930 (Movie)

Sabra Cravat (Actor)

A Guy Named Joe (Movie)

Dorinda Durston (Actor)

Ann Vickers (Movie)

Ann Vickers (Actor)

Consolation Marriage (Movie)

Mary Brown (Actor)

High, Wide and Handsome (Movie)

Sally Watterson (Actor)

I Remember Mama (Movie)

Mama Hansen (Actor)

If I Were Free (Movie)

Sarah Cazenove (Actor)

It Grows on Trees (Movie)

Polly Baxter (Actor)

Joy of Living (Movie)

Margaret "Maggie" Garret (Actor)

Never a Dull Moment (Movie)

Kay (Actor)

Over 21 (Movie)

Paula Wharton (Actor)

Stingaree (Movie)

Hilda Bouverie (Actor)

Sweet Adeline (Movie)

Adeline Schmidt (Actor)

Symphony of Six Million (Movie)

Jessica (Actor)

The Mudlark (Movie)

Queen Victoria (Actor)

The Secret of Madame Blanche (Movie)

Sally St. John (Actor)

The White Cliffs of Dover (Movie)

Susan Dunn Ashwood (Actor)

Thirteen Women (Movie)

Laura Stanhope (Actor)

This Man Is Mine (Movie)

Toni Dunlap (Actor)

Together Again (Movie)

Anne Crandall (Actor)

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 and '40s and the consistent quality of that work made her much beloved among fans of classic Hollywood cinema.

Relationships

Adelaide Dunne

Mother

Joseph Dunne

Father
died in 1910

Francis Griffen

Husband
married in 1927 lived on opposite coasts for part of their marriage

Mary Griffen

Daughter
adopted in 1936

EDUCATION

Loretta Academy

St Louis , Missouri

Chicago College of Music

Chicago , Illinois 1919

Milestones

1965

Became a board member of Technicolor

1957

Appointed alternate delegate to the United Nations' 12th General Assembly by President Eisenhower

1952

Last film, "It Grows on Trees"

1952

Hosted a season of the TV anthology drama, "Schlitz Playhouse of Stars"

1948

Received last of five Oscar nominations as Best Actress for "I Remember Mama"

1937

Last full-fledged musical, "High, Wide and Handsome"

1936

First notable screwball comedy success, "Theodora Goes Wild"

1931

Confirmed as a star with her role in her second film, "Cimarron"; received her first Oscar nomination as Best Actress

1930

Film acting debut in "Leathernecking"

1922

First role on Broadway in "The Clinging Vine"

1920

Failed singing audition at New York's Metropolitan Opera

After father's death, moved with mother to Madison, Indiana to live with her mother's parents

After being under exclusive contract to RKO since the start of her career, began freelancing in the mid-1930s

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