Image of Irene Dunne

Irene Dunne

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.

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Dec 20, 1898 In Louisville, Kentucky, USA
Movie/TV Credits:
First Appeared:
In the movie Leathernecking 1930-09-12
Latest Project:
Movie 1939: Hollywood's Greatest Year 2009-07-02
Known For
Poster of Unfinished Business
Poster of No Other Woman
Poster of Thirteen Women
Poster of The Stolen Jools
Movie 1939: Hollywood's Greatest Year 2009-07-02
Movie Hollywood Singing and Dancing: A Musical History 2008-10-14
Series The Kennedy Center Honors Unknown 1978-12-28
Movie Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? (archive footage) 1975-08-06
Movie Hollywood Without Make-Up 1963-07-01
Series The DuPont Show with June Allyson Unknown 1959-09-21
Series Letter to Loretta Unknown 1953-09-20
Series General Electric Theater Unknown 1953-02-01
Series The Academy Awards Unknown 1953-03-18
Movie It Grows on Trees Polly Baxter 1952-09-02
Series Schlitz Playhouse of Stars 1951-10-05
Movie Never a Dull Moment Kay Kingsley 1950-08-19
Movie You Can Change The World Herself 1950-02-25
Series The Colgate Comedy Hour Unknown 1950-09-10
Movie The Mudlark Queen Victoria 1950-11-28
Movie I Remember Mama Mama 1948-03-09
Movie Life with Father Vinnie Day 1947-09-13
Movie Anna and the King of Siam Anna Owens 1946-08-11
Movie Over 21 Paula 'Polly' Wharton 1945-08-08
Movie A Guy Named Joe Dorinda Durston 1944-03-01
Movie Twenty Years After 1944-01-01
Movie The White Cliffs of Dover Susan Dunn 1944-05-11
Movie Together Again Anne Crandall 1944-12-23
Movie Show-Business at War Herself 1943-05-21
Movie Lady in a Jam Jane Palmer 1942-06-19
Movie Penny Serenade Julie Gardiner Adams 1941-04-24
Movie Unfinished Business Nancy Andrews 1941-08-27
Movie My Favorite Wife Ellen Wagstaff Arden 1940-05-17
Movie Love Affair Terry McKay 1939-04-07
Movie When Tomorrow Comes Helen Lawrence 1939-08-11
Movie Invitation to Happiness Eleanor Wayne 1939-06-07
Movie Joy of Living Margaret 'Maggie' Garret 1938-05-06
Movie High, Wide and Handsome Sally Watterson 1937-07-21
Movie The Awful Truth Lucy Warriner 1937-10-20
Movie Show Boat Magnolia Hawkes 1936-05-17
Movie Screen Snapshots (Series 16, No. 1) 1936-09-11
Movie Theodora Goes Wild Theodora Lynn 1936-11-12
Movie Roberta Stephanie 1935-03-07
Movie Things You Never See on the Screen Herself 1935-12-01
Movie Magnificent Obsession Helen Hudson 1935-12-30
Movie Stingaree Hilda Bouverie 1934-05-24
Movie This Man Is Mine Tony Dunlap 1934-04-13
Movie The Age of Innocence Countess Ellen Olenska 1934-09-14
Movie Sweet Adeline Adeline 'Addie' Schmidt 1934-12-29
Movie No Other Woman Anna Stanley 1933-01-06
Movie The Secret of Madame Blanche Sally 1933-02-03
Movie Ann Vickers Ann Vickers 1933-09-26
Movie The Silver Cord Christina Phelps 1933-05-05
Movie If I Were Free Sarah Cazenove 1933-12-01
Movie Symphony of Six Million Jessica 1932-04-29
Movie Thirteen Women Laura Stanhope 1932-09-16
Movie Back Street Ray Schmidt 1932-09-01
Movie The Stolen Jools Irene Dunne 1931-04-04
Movie Cimarron Sabra Cravat 1931-02-09
Movie Bachelor Apartment Helene Andrews 1931-04-15
Movie The Great Lover Diana 1931-07-18
Movie Consolation Marriage Mary Brown Porter 1931-11-21
Movie Leathernecking Delphine Witherspoon 1930-09-12