Irene Dunne (Jessie Irene Noblett)

Irene Dunne

Irene Dunne

Born on December 20, 1898 in Louisville, Kentucky, she was named Irene Marie Dunne. Early in life took an interest in singing and went to New York City aspiring to be a part of the Metropolitan Opera. This did not work out as she planned but she went on to Chicago where she became part of the musical “Irene.” In 1929, Showman Florenz Ziegfeld, while riding in an elevator with her “discovered her” and soon after granting her an audition, featured her in the musical “Showboat”. Destined to become a movie star, she travelled to California and RKO signed her in 1930, The following year, she got an Oscar nomination for her role in the movie “Cimarron.” Her next career highlight was the lead role in “Roberta” (1935) where she introduced the classic song “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.” Though she loved acting in dramatic roles, she was found to be a gifted comedic actress. Cary Grant starred with her in the classic “My Favourite Wife” (1940) and went on to say that she was his favorite co-star of all because she “was so much fun to work with.” She received five Academy Award nominations, for her performances in “Cimarron” (1931), “Theodora Goes Wild” (1936), “The Awful Truth” (1937), “Love Affair” (1939) and “I Remember Mama” (1948). Her last film was in 1952, though she appeared on television through the early 1960s. She christened the paddlewheeler “Mark Twain” at Disneyland when it opened in 1955. She was involved in several charities and also worked with the United Nations. Irene Dunne died on September 4, 1990, in Los Angeles. She was married to Dr. Francis Griffin.

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  • October, 17, 1902
  • San Francisco, California


  • April, 26, 1973
  • Santa Monica, California

Cause of Death

  • Stroke


  • Calvary Cemetery
  • Los Angeles, California

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