Irene Dunne

Irene Dunne

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.

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.

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).

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

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.

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

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.

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

Her adopted daughter Mary Frances was nicknamed Murph.

Her grandson married writer Vanna Bonta in her home.

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.

Her only color production was Life with Father (1947) in which she co-starred with William Powell.

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

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.

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.

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.

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