Irene Dunne » Trivia

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Eisenhower named her an alternate delegate to the U.N. General Assembly in 1959.

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.

Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of fame in the early sixties. It is located at 6440 Hollywood Boulevard.

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

In 1965 she was the first woman elected to Technicolor`s board of directors. (en.wikipedia.org)

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

Biography in: "Who`s Who in Comedy" by Ronald L. Smith. Pg. 145-146. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387 (en.wikipedia.org)

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 personal favorite of her films was "Love Affair" with Charles Boyer.

Irene Dunne was the Grand Marshall on the opening day of Disneyland. She wore a strapless full skirted dress and a short hairstyle.

In "Love Affair," Charles Boyer ordered pink champagne for Irene Dunne, and restaurants were suddenly bombarded with requests.

She was a perfume connoisseur. One whiff and she could tell you everything about the rarest of fragrances: their histories and processes of manufacture.

In spite of their chemistry on the screen, Irene Dunne and Cary Grant never socialized.

Irene`s filming contracts included clauses assuring that after completion of each of her films, she could return to her husband in New York, and that she be given ten days` notice before the start of her next assignment.

Her father was a Mississippi riverboat operator and government ship inspector.

The only actor she had ever really had a crush on was Richard Burton.

She was an excellent golf player.

In June 1942, Irene Dunne christened the liberty ship Carole Lombard, which served in the Pacific during World War II.

Irene wore the same red chiffon dress every Valentine`s Day for 13 years.

She spent her honeymoon in England, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland and Holland.

Her two favorite causes were St. John`s hospital and the Motion Picture Home.

Irene Dunne and her family were the only residents of the home she and her husband built in the style of a Kentucky mansion in Holmby Hills, an exclusive section of Beverly Hills, because it was sold for a reported $6.9 million upon her death and was demolished to make way for a more contemporary Hollywood-style mansion.

Grew prize-winning roses.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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."

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

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

During WWII did many bond drives for the war effort.

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.

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.

Her favorite leading man was Charles Boyer.

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

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).

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

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

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)

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

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

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

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


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