Irene Dunne Poster

Trivia (33)

President Dwight D. Eisenhower named her an alternate delegate to the U.N. General Assembly in 1959. Dunne had actively campaigned for him in the 1952 and 1956 presidential elections.

Was discovered for films while appearing in the first national touring company of "Show Boat" in 1929. She played and sang the role of Magnolia, and repeated her performance in Show Boat (1936).

Her tombstone mistakenly gives her date of birth as 1901 rather than 1898.

After being nominated 5 times for the Best Actress Oscar and never winning, it was hoped by many that she would receive an honorary award after her retirement but the Academy (for reasons best known to itself) failed to present one.

Was offered the role of Aunt Alicia in Vincente Minnelli's Gigi (1958), but she declined, preferring to stay in retirement.

Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of fame in the early 1960s. It is located at 6440 Hollywood Blvd.

In 1965 she was the first woman elected to Technicolor's board of directors.

In 1968 was named one of Colorado's Women of achievement.

Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald L. Smith. Pg. 145-146. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387

Christened the Mark Twain stern-wheel riverboat at Disneyland, July 17, 1955.

During her marriage to Dr. Frank Griffin, Irene adopted a child, Mary Frances. The child was adopted in 1938 at the age of four from the New York Foundling Hospital.

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 only full color production (in three-strip Technicolor) was Life with Father (1947) in which she co-starred with William Powell. (Her debut film Leathernecking (1930), of which no print is known to survive, featured a sequence in two-color Technicolor.).

Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume Two, 1986-1990, pages 261-263. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1999.

After her death, her Holmby Hills home was listed for sale for $6.9 million. One of the realtors was William Bakewell who had acted with Irene in Back Street (1932).

She was one of the most active supporters of the Republican Party in Hollywood, and campaigned for Richard Nixon in 1960. She later supported Ronald Reagan's two runs for Governor of California and his two presidential campaigns.

Her grandson married writer Vanna Bonta in her home.

After retiring from acting, Dunne devoted herself primarily to Republican Party political causes.

Her adopted daughter Mary Frances was nicknamed Murph.

Loretta Young, was one of Irene's closest friends. Back in the day, Loretta had a girls club for her friends, they met once a week and some of the members were Anita Louise, Irene Dunne and Loretta's two sisters as well.

She has two great-grandchildren from yoga instructor granddaughter Ann Shinnick Streibich.

Friends with Loretta Young, Bob Hope, James Stewart, Ricardo Montalban, Roddy McDowall, Caesar Romero, director Bill Freye, and interfaith foundation director Daniel Donahue.

Smashed the traditional champagne bottle on the bow of the Liberty Ship S.S. Carole Lombard at its launching ceremony.

Was considered for the role of Mildred Rogers in Of Human Bondage (1934), but Bette Davis was cast instead.

She has an entry in Jean Tulard's "Dictionnaire du Cinéma/Les Acteurs" published in Paris in 2007 (ISBN: 978-2-221-10895-6), pages 384, 385.

Her last official public appearance was in December 1985 for the Kennedy Center honors in Washington. She collapsed at the Saturday night reception after the group photograph of the honorees and was unable to attend the gala the next night.

Profiled in "American Classic Screen Interviews" (Scarecrow Press). [2010]

Profiled in book "Funny Ladies" by Stephen Silverman. [1999]

Because she rode riverboats as a girl in Kentucky and starred in "Showboat" in 1936, she was chosen by Walt Disney to christen the riverboat "Mark Twain" when Disneyland officially opened in California in 1955.

Was considered for the role of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind (1939).

Played Cary Grant's wife in 3 movies: The Awful Truth (1937), My Favorite Wife (1940), and Penny Serenade (1941).

Mary Pickford was considered for the role of Vinnie in Life with Father (1947). While Miss Pickford was interested in the project, director Michael Curtiz held out for Irene Dunne. He eventually won over the studio administration with convincing argument that Miss Dunne's box office appeal was a known quantity. Miss Pickford's, after such a long absence from the screen, was questionable.

For years, during her lifetime, her date of birth was listed in the World Almanac as 1904.