My Family History

Trace your ancestors and then immortalise them!

                                          Irene Dunne   20 Dec 1898 -  4 Sep 1990

Irene Dunne was born Irene Marie Dunn, in Louisville, Kentucky on December 20. Her dad was Joseph John Dunn (1863–1909), a steamboat engineer/inspector for the United States government, and her mum was Adelaide Henry (1871–1936), a concert pianist / music teacher from Newport, Kentucky. Irene would later write, "No triumph of either my stage or screen career has ever rivalled the excitement of trips down the Mississipi on the riverboats with my father."
She was eleven when her father died from a kidney infection. She saved all of his letters and often remembered and lived by what he told her the night before he died: "Happiness is never an accident. It is the prize we get when we choose wisely from life's great stores." Following her father's death, Irene, her mother, and her younger brother Charles moved to her mother's hometown of Madison, Indiana. Irene's mother taught her to play the piano as a very small girl. According to Irene, "Music was as natural as breathing in our house."

On July 16, 1927, Irene married Francis Griffin, a New York dentist. She later moved to Hollywood with her mother and brother and maintained a long-distance marriage with her husband in New York until he joined her in California in 1936.  Irene remained married to Dr. Francis Griffin until his death on October 14, 1965. They lived in Holmby Hills, California, in a Southern plantation-style mansion they designed. They had one daughter, Mary Frances (née Anna Mary Bush), who was adopted in 1936 from the New York Foundling Hospital.


She was discovered by Hollywood when starring with the road company of Show Boat in 1929. She signed a contract with RKO and appeared in her first movie, Leathernecking (1930) Irene was nominated five times for the Academy Award for Best Actress – for her performances in Cimarron (1931), Theodora Goes Wild (1936), The Awful Truth (1937), Love Affair (1939), and I Remember Mama (1948). In 1985, Irene was given the Kennedy Center Honors for her services to the arts. Irene passed away in Los Angeles on September 4, 1990 aged 91.

irene dunne - you couldn't be cuter

    Irene Dunne sings Lonely Feet

    Once You're Mine  1m 03

Irene sings in Norwegian  2m 18

  The Last Rose of Summer 1m 34

Irene & Dorothy Lamour  1m 33