Irene Dunne

American actress and singer (1898–1990)

Irene Dunne (December 20, 1898September 4, 1990) was an American film actress and singer of the 1930s, 1940s and early 1950s. Dunne was nominated five times for the Academy Award for Best Actress.

Dunne circa 1930s

Quotes edit

  • I couldn't advise others to try such a long distance marriage, but for us it works perfectly. We are three thousand miles apart, it is true, but the big thing is that we each have our careers without interference from the other. My husband can't leave his practice and I can't leave Hollywood, but neither of us has any thought of giving up either the career or each other. Some day we shall again live in our 'honeymoon' apartment - but in the meantime, for us, this is the best possible way.
  • A honeymoon is wonderful, of course. It's the time two people go off alone and do their utmost to remain alone. Not only because they are so new and exciting to each other. But because it's their chance to draw closer and prepare for the intimacy of the every day married life which lies ahead of them. However, feverishly romantic though it may be, it's also apt to be something of a strain. Because the two people haven't yet learned to relax with each other. Because they haven't had time to become truly good friends. Because they don't know all the little things about each other which only the intimacy and affectionate understanding of years brings.
  • Fans hate a hypocrite. I believe they detect the real you behind every role and if they are led to believe you are something you pretend you aren't, they resent it.
  • I don't give my phone number to strangers. It's Plaza 5048.
    • to her future husband when he asked for her phone number after their first dance.[citation needed]
  • I'm not going to worry any more. It isn't worth it. Look at 'Show Boat.' I worried myself sick over it. I knew the public wouldn't like it. But they do and it has broken all kind of records. Yes, I decided while I was in Europe this summer that I'd never worry again. I shall laugh blithely all through 'Theodora Goes Wild.' That's the picture I'm doing now for Columbia, you know. It's different from anything I've ever done before, and it's a comedy, and I'm going to laugh and be gay and never give a thought to worry.
  • Usually marriages break up because people won't take the trouble to get through the middle breakfasts. It's no trick to get through the first breakfasts, when love is new and there are bows on the eggs. And once the middle breakfasts are over the last breakfasts, when plenty of allowances have been made on both sides and an understanding friendship and deep love have been established, are a joy forever.
  • Ever since my United Nations work, for instance, they've been saying that I've gone into politics. The United Nations is a nonpolitical body.
  • That's the kind of stuff you are offered today. Scripts that have you mixed up with young men. I find them utterly revolting. Of course WE never had to do nude scenes. I'm glad, too, because I'm susceptible to pneumonia.[citation needed]
  • I'll never have to write my memoirs now after reading this. She had six husbands, at least six lovers - why, my life is so dull compared to hers! I've had one husband, one daughter, one house and no lovers.

How Do I Stay Normal in Hollywood (1942) edit

How Do I Stay Normal in Hollywood, by Irene Dunne; Movie Radio Guide (25 April 1942)

  • How do I remain what is called "normal"? Because for me it's the natural thing to do, and therefore easier than doing something else.
  • There seems to be a general impression that to be known as normal in Hollywood is akin to being labeled as rare animal in a zoo.
  • Strange as it may seem to those who have read much of the screwball side of Hollywood life, I have never had to fight against an impulse to jump into a swimming-pool while dressed for the opera.
  • Never on any golf course have I been approached by a policeman who said, "Lady, you can't play with an ordinary golf ball. You're movie star. You'll have to use a coconut for a ball.
  • Surely it isn't entirely normal to see fingers pointing at you as a rare species, the only one in captivity!

Hats, Hunches And Happiness (1945) edit

Hats, Hunches And Happiness, by Irene Dunne (17 February 1945)

  • When I found myself riding in a lift with the great showman, I was too much too frightened even to look at him, much less get off at the same floor.
  • Our home in Louisville, Kentucky, where I was born on December 20, was one of great happiness.
  • Father drove fifty miles each evening behind his spanking team of horses to keep his date with the Southern girl - carefully chaperoned by FOUR maiden aunts.
  • No triumph of either my stage or screen career has ever rivalled the excitement of trips down the Mississippi on the river boats with my father.
  • Mother, an accomplished musician, taught me to play the piano as a very small girl.
  • Music was as natural as breathing in our house.
  • Nothing can replace the excitement, the magic and yes the glamour of a Ziegfeld show. To see the great showman sitting in the second row busily writing his telegrams is a thrill no actress can forget.
  • The glamour of Hollywood has never worn thin for me.

How To Get Along In Hollywood (1948) edit

How To Get Along In Hollywood, by Irene Dunne; Motion Picture, February 1948

  • Ever since the first day I arrived in this town, the general impression has been that I'm like a queen holding court on chosen days.
  • People have also said that I can't be used as a fair example of Hollywood living since I keep my private life so completely separate from my career.
  • It's not possible to forget pictures. Anyone who works in them thinks of them constantly.
  • It doesn't hurt any of us to remember that Hollywood isn't at all impressed by anyone who has the fantastic illusion that the town must revolve around him.
  • You may laugh of the idea of the good will of others in Hollywood, but it's no laughing matter if you don't have it.
  • They aren't interested in the fact that whenever they kick up dirt, the dirt rubs off on every one of us.
  • Hollywood is fond of gushing chit-chat as any other town.
  • One of the choicest occupations here is ripping reputations into pieces.
  • Parading about in the latest gowns and making dull platitudes for an entire evening doesn't constitute social success in my book.

If You Want Success (Screenland Interview) (1961) edit

If You Want Success, by Irene Dunne Screenland, July 1961

  • You'll be much better equipped for a long life in pictures if you have a sound theatrical background.
  • In addition to actual dramatic training and experience, I'd want as much education as possible.
  • No education is ever wasted and everything you learn is helpful in acting.
  • Languages, literature, art, music, history: are all self-evident helps - and even mathematics and sciences, by training memory and demanding the analytical approach, are helpful by indirection.
  • This is an amazing business, creative and mechanical at the same time.
  • If I arrived in Hollywood today, I would keep reminding myself not to try to make a big impression.
  • If I began today, I would certainly remember that by becoming a movie actress one automatically becomes vulnerable in the matter of gossip.

A Visit With Irene Dunne (1977) edit

A Visit with Irene Dunne, by James Bawden; American Classic Screen; Sept. Oct. 1977

  • There are worse things in life than being called a lady.
  • I always demanded respect. I came prepared and expected others to do the same.
  • I did all my fighting before the film started. I fought for the best director, the best lighting man. I was always conscious of how I looked.
  • I had great cameramen like Rudolph Mate and Hal Mohr. They'd take an hour to light the proper closeup of me.
  • Extremism of the right or the left is dangerous.
  • That's why there are so few women stars today. Pornography has taken away the mystery.
  • Now don't you dare call me normal. I was never a Pollyanna. There was always a lot of Theodora in me.

Quotes about Irene Dunne edit

  • "Happiness is never an accident", he told me. "It is the prize we get when we choose wisely from life's great stores. Don't reach out wildly for this and that and the other thing. You'll end up empty handed if you do. Make up your mind what you want. Go after it. And be prepared to pay well for it. I hope that you'll go after the rooted things - the self-respect that comes when we accept our share of responsibility. Satisfying work. Marriage. A home. A family. For these are the things that grow better with time, not less. These things are the bulwarks of happiness."
  • She was, and is, a real lady. And a great star. They don't make them like her any more -and her beauty today is still unfaded."
  • I can guarantee no juicy bits of intimate gossip. Unless, perhaps she lies awake nights heartsick about the kitchen sink in her new home. She's afraid it's too near to the door. Or would you call that juicy? No? No, I thought not.
  • The Irene I know is as vague as the absent-minded professor - and as adroit. She´s casual as a Noel Coward heroine and as conscientious as a Salvation Army missionary. She´s as fragile as Dresden and as strong as steel.
  • On The Awful Truth we just clicked. She'd been a weepie star and comedy was strange to her. She'd do a bit and whisper to me, "Funny?" She was the sweetest smelling of my leading ladies and such a lady. If one of the crew cussed, she'd blush. She claims she was out shopping at Bullocks for a present for her husband and the saleslady said, "I don't think Mr. Grant would like that." In the minds of the public, we were married. Reunions became impossible because we both liked first billing. It's ladies first in rowboats but not in movies, I'm afraid. But I still see her at the races and she still smells wonderful.
    • Cary Grant, as quoted in Conversations with Classic Film Stars (2016) by James Bawden and Ron Miller, p. 123

External links edit

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