Irene Dunne

First Lady of Hollywood


This is the first full-length biography of Irene Dunne, one of the most versatile actresses of Hollywood's Golden Age. A recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors award in 1985, Dunne's acting highlights include five Best Actress Oscar nominations, occurring in almost as many different genres: the Western Cimarron (1931), the two screwball comedies Theodora Goes Wild (1936) and The Awful Truth (1937), the romantic comedy Love Affair (1939), and the populist I Remember Mama (1948). Her other memorable films include My Favorite Wife (1940), Penny Serenade (1941), Anna and the King of Siam (1946), and Life with Father (1947). After delving into Dunne's childhood and early acting forays, the book reveals details about key events in her life and career, including a difficult, bi-coastal marriage. The author also examines Dunne's pivotal roles on stage and in film, her movement among the genres of melodrama and screwball comedy, her ties to director Leo McCarey, and her post-war film career. Gehring's research and insightful analysis shed light on what made Irene Dunne so unique and her performances so memorable. Includes 16 pages of photos.
  • Scarecrow Press; June 2006
  • ISBN 9781461659891
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF or secure EPUB format
  • Title: Irene Dunne
  • Author: Wes D. Gehring
  • Imprint: Scarecrow Press

In The Press

This biography, a reprint from 2003, traces the life and career of actress Irene Dunne (1904-1990). Gehring (film, Ball State U.) details her childhood, bicoastal marriage, and roles on stage and in films. She was most popular during the 1930s and 1940s and acted in melodramas, musicals, and screwball comedies. The connection she had with her favorite director Leo McCarey is discussed, as well as the films The Awful Truth, Love Affair, and others, her postwar films, and retirement. Included is a detailed filmography.

About The Author

Wes D. Gehring is Professor of Film at Ball State University and an Associate Media Editor of USA Today Magazine, for whom he also writes the column 'Reel World.' He is the author of eighteen critically acclaimed books, including Romantic vs. Screwball Comedy (Scarecrow, 2002), and his articles have appeared in numerous journals.