Irene Dunne

Irene Dunne

actress, soundtrack

Irene Dunne was born on Dec 20, 1898 in USA. Irene Dunne's big-screen debut came with Cimarron directed by Wesley Ruggles in 1931. Irene Dunne is known for Frontier Circus directed by William Witney, Chill Wills stars as Colonel Casey Thompson and John Derek as Ben Travis. Irene Dunne has got 3 awards and 5 nominations so far. The most recent award Irene Dunne achieved is Online Film & Television Association. The upcoming new movie Irene Dunne plays is Someone to Watch Over Me which will be released on Oct 09, 1987.

Irene Marie Dunne was born on December 20, 1898, in Louisville, Kentucky. She was the daughter of Joseph Dunne, who inspected steamships, and Adelaide Henry, a musician who prompted Irene in the arts. Her first production was in Louisville when she appeared in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at the age of five. Her "debut" set the tone for a fabulous career. Following the tragic death of her father when she was 12, she moved with her remaining family to the picturesque and historic town of Madison, Indiana, to live with her maternal grandparents at 916 W. Second St. During the next few years Irene studied voice and took piano lessons in town. She was able to earn money singing in the Christ Episcopal Church choir on Sundays. After graduating from Madison High School in 1916, she studied until 1917 in a music conservatory in Indianapolis. After that she accepted a teaching post as a music and art instructor in East Chicago, Indiana, just a stone's throw from Chicago. She never made it to the school. While on her way to East Chicago, she saw a newspaper ad in the Indianapolis Star and News for an annual scholarship contest run by the Chicago Music College. Irene won the contest, which enabled her to study there for a year. After that she headed for New York City because it was still the entertainment capital of the world. Her first goal in New York was to add her name to the list of luminaries of the Metropolitan Opera Company. Her audition did her little good, as she was rejected for being too young and inexperienced. She did win the leading role in a road theater company, which was, in turn, followed by numerous plays. During this time she studied at the Chicago Music College, from which she graduated with high honors in 1926. In 1928, Irene met and married a promising young dentist from New York named Francis Dennis Griffin. She remained with Dr. Griffin until his death in 1965.Irene came to the attention of Hollywood when she performed in "Show Boat" on the East Coast. By 1930 she was under contract to RKO Pictures. Her first film was Présentez armes (1930), which went almost unnoticed. In 1931 she appeared in La ruée vers l'ouest (1931), for which she received the first of five Academy Award nominations. Sa femme (1933) and Ann Vickers (1933) the same year followed.In 1936 (due to her comic skits in Show Boat (1936)), she was "persuaded" to star in a comedy, up to that time a medium for which she had small affection. However, Théodora devient folle (1936) was an instant hit, almost as popular as the more famous New York - Miami (1934) from two years before. From this she earned her second Academy Award nomination. Later, in 1937, she was teamed with Cary Grant in Cette sacrée vérité (1937). This helped her garner a third Academy Award nomination. She starred with Grant later in Mon épouse favorite (1940) and La chanson du passé (1941).Her favorite film was Elle et lui (1939) with Charles Boyer, a huge hit in a year with so many great films, and a role for which she was again nominated for an Academy Award. Howevever, it was the tear-jerker Tendresse (1948) for which she will be best remembered in the role of the loving, self-sacrificing Norwegian mother. She got another nomination for that but again lost. This was the picture in which she should have won the Oscar.She began to wean herself away from films toward the many charities and public works she championed. Her last major movie was as Polly Baxter in 1952's Ca pousse sur les arbres (1952). After that she only appeared as a guest on television. Irene knew enough to quit while she was ahead of the game and this helped keep her legacy intact.In 1957 she was appointed as a special US delegate to the United Nations during the 12th General Assembly by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, such was her widespread appeal. The remainder of her life was spent on civic causes. She even donated $10,000 to the restoration of the town fountain in her girlhood home of Madison, Indiana, in 1976, even though she had not been there since 1938 when she came home for a visit. She died of heart failure on September 4, 1990, in Los Angeles, California.

  • Birthday

    Dec 20, 1898
  • Place of Birth

    Louisville, Kentucky, USA

Known For


3 wins & 5 nominations

Online Film & Television Association
Winner - OFTA Film Hall of Fame
The Kennedy Center Honors
Winner - Kennedy Center Honors
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Movies & TV Shows

TV Shows