Irene Dunne » Trivia

List of facts about Irene Dunne.

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Is in Vanity Fair's The International Hall of Fame: Women. (vanityfair.com)

Married July 11, 1927, in a church on East 83rd Street, NY New York (irenedunnesite.com)

Once took the bus tour of the Hollywood homes disguised in a cotton dress, an old sweater, a mousy hat, and dark glasses, and accompanied by her African-American houseman Melvyn. (irenedunnesite.com)

Had custom handkerchiefs made for her husband because he liked them large. (irenedunnesite.com)

The day after her future husband Francis Griffin met her, he went to a jeweler friend's shop and asked to see some diamonds. He said it was "for the lady I'm going to marry. I met her only last night, but I know it will be she or no one." (irenedunnesite.com)

Made up a game called "Stalling Teacher" where she and classmates would ask their teacher questions to avoid having to translate Latin for class. (irenedunnesite.com)

Her two favorite causes were St.John's Hospital in Santa Monica and the Motion Picture Home. (irenedunnesite.com)

Scripted and orchestrated her own funeral, complete with seating and luncheon afterward. (irenedunnesite.com)

Was one of the first investors in the Beverly Hills Hotel in 1941 together with Jimmy Stewart and Loretta Young.

(irenedunnesite.com)

Her favorite leading man was Charles Boyer. (irenedunnesite.com)

Cary Grant said she was his favorite leading lady. (irenedunnesite.com)

Her father drove fifty miles each evening behind a team of horses to keep his date with her mother, a Southern girl who was carefully chaperoned by four maiden aunts. (irenedunnesite.com)

Was considered one of the best golfers of the cinema colony, with the rare distinction of being a member of the hole-in-one club. (irenedunnesite.com)

Sailed to Europe on the Queen Mary when she went to Europe this past last summer with her husband and her mother in the summer of 1936. (irenedunnesite.com)

At Loretta Academy in St. Louis she organized a club the sole purpose of which was the to have fun called the "Mischievous Maids Club." There were ten members and they wore little gold pins with MMC monogrammed on them. (irenedunnesite.com)

She claimed her worst fault was a quick temper and a sharp tongue, which she inherited from her Irish father, and that it always got her into trouble. (irenedunnesite.com)

She once won ten dollars at a County Fair in Indianapolis for making the best doughnuts. (irenedunnesite.com)

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. (imdb.com)

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

After retiring from acting, Dunne devoted herself primarily to Republican Party political causes. (imdb.com)

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 the Show Boat (1936). (imdb.com)

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. (imdb.com)

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. (imdb.com)

Her tombstone mistakenly gives her date of birth as 1901 rather than 1898. (imdb.com)

Her adopted daughter Mary Frances was nicknamed Murph. (imdb.com)

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

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

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). (imdb.com)

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

In 1968 was named one of Colorado's Women of achievement. (imdb.com)

Her grandson married writer Vanna Bonta in her home. (imdb.com)

During filming of Roberta, she had a special bodyguard following her around - to protect the fur she wore, which cost $9,000 dollars in 1935 (now over $100,000).

The song "Sing, My Heart" (Music by Harold Arlen, Lyrics by Ted Koehler) was written for Miss Dunne.

Her favorite leading man was Charles Boyer.

She would always remember the production of "A Guy Named Joe" as the most difficult picture of her life because of incessant, nonstop sexual overtures from her co-star Spencer Tracy who wouldn`t stop goosing, touching, and rubbing Dunne. When she had to sing "I`ll Get By" to him, Tracy leaned over and whispered dirty words into her ear.

Once she took an icognito bus tour of the Hollywood homes, wearing a cotton dress, an old sweater, a mousy hat, and dark glasses, and accompanied by her African-American houseman, Melvin. No one recognized her.

During WWII did many bond drives for the war effort.

She was a die-hard Republican, and campaigned for the ultra conservative Barry Goldwater in the 1960’s.

Irene Dunne disliked the printed word, fearing that someone might misquote or misunderstand something she said or was supposed to have said.

Years after filming The White Cliffs of Dover together, Irene still remembered one very bizarre aspect of Elizabeth Taylor, the child. "She seemed to look straight through you. She was one of those mysterious children who could make any adult feel very insecure and ill at ease."

When Roddy McDowall first met someone and the conversation would get around to movies, he`d ask, “Do you like Irene Dunne?” If the answer was “no”, he knew then and there that he and that person could never be friends.

Her favorite leading man was Charles Boyer. They made three films together.

Film critics generally consider the black-and-white version of Love Affair with Dunne and Charles Boyer superior to the color remake with Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant.

Loretta Young was one of Irene`s closest friends. They met once a week with Loretta`s girls club.

Irene Dunne owned half a block of real estate in Beverly Hills` most exclusive business section, an interest in the Beverly Hills Hotel, and a sizable chunk of the Ojai Valley Inn. She also made investments in oil and, with her husband, Dr. Francis Griffin, helped finance a Las Vegas theater and housing project.

Irene started a fad in Hollywood, wearing a hat ornament to match the color of the dress worn: a green trinket for a green costume, a blue doodad for a blue garment, and so on.

Except for six early years under contract as a studio player at RKO, she was never tied to a studio.

She was nominated for the best-actress Oscar five times: "Cimarron," "Theodora Goes Wild," "The Awful Truth," "Love Affair" and "I Remember Mama." She never won. It`s one of the Academy`s biggest oversights.

Was very fond of her grand-daughter-in-law, Vanna Bonta.

Grew prize-winning roses.


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