Irene Dunne

I loved listening to a phone interview with IRENE DUNNE from 1971. Irene was talking to a Chicago radio host,Chuck  Schaden and it was fascinating to hear her views:


I was in the original SHOW BOAT company and played a few times  in New York, and then came to Chicago, the Illinois theatre – with Helen Morgan and Charles Winninger.

I think it was a magnificent play. I did the picture a few years later – I didn’t think it compared with it.”


”There was a retrospective recently and they showed 16 of my films and I would say that CIMARRON was the only film that did not stand up. It was just a little hammy! Though it wa such a tremendous success in those days.

But the others – all those that I made with Cary Grant and Charles Boyer – they held up beautifully.

THE AWFUL TRUTH and MY FAVOURITE WIFE were very good films, directed beautifully by Leo McCarey who was one of the outstanding directors.”


”They wanted to start the series with CIMARRON but I had not seen it in many years, and I said , oh please, don’t do it – let’s start with something lighter.”


”I loved making LOVE AFFAIR. It was made during the Christmas holidays and we had a great time – it was a joy to make.
And I loved working with Spencer Tracy on A GUY NAMED JOE -a magnificent actor.

Van Johnson was out of the film (A Guy Named Joe) for ten weeks  and during that time I started another film, THE WHITE CLIFFS OF DOVER, so I was riding on a bicycle between the two films.”

I REMEMBER MAMA was almost my favourite film because it was a character part and I had never really done that before.


”I managed to get away from the seven year contract after RKO, and then I could do pretty much as I pleased. Claudette Colbert, who was my next door neighbour for many years, I think she and  I  were the first freelance players.”


”I enjoyed my career but as I look back on it, I wish I’d had more time – I made pictures rather close together.

I think my batting average was quite good and I decided to leave it at that…..I still see my friends Loretta Young  and Rosalind Russell. I’m going to see Katharine Hepburn tomorrow night – I have already seen her in COCO. 

She and I came out to a Hollywood at almost the same time – we were on the same lot at the same time.”

(Hepburn did COCO from 1969 to 1971. Unless Irene meant she was going to meet Katharine in person, she may have been referring to Katharine’s 1971 film, THE TROJAN WOMEN.)


Some Irene Dunne photos:



Dorothy Lamour, Irene Dunne. HIGH WIDE AND HANDSOME.

Dorothy and Irene performing “Allegheny Al” by Kern and Hammerstein.



Irene Dunne, Cary Grant.


Charles Boyer, Irene Dunne.



Irene Dunne, George Stevens. I REMEMBER MAMA.


Irene Dunne, Loretta Young.


Irene Dunne, Rosalind Russell.



Irene and her husband Francis Griffin.


2 responses »

  1. I havent seen Irene in The Mudlark. Seemed such a strange choice for her.But in a 1972 interview with John Kobal, Irene said it was nice to get away from routine and that the makeup for the role was very difficult.

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