Irene Dunne Introduction by annette bochenek

The following introduction was given on 5/29/14:

Regarding her acting career, Irene Dunne once said, “I drifted into acting and drifted out. Acting is not everything. Living is.”

Irene Dunne was one of the most down-to-earth of all classic Hollywood film stars. Like so many other greats, she was from the Midwest, hailing from Louisville, Kentucky. A devout Roman Catholic, she was the daughter of a riverboat man father and concert piano teacher mother. While her father influenced her sense of humor and self-identity, her mother acted as Dunne’s mentor for the creative arts.

After years of voice lessons, Dunne auditioned for the Met, but did not land a role. Thankfully for us, the rejection from the Met prompted Dunne to pursue other theatrical auditions, which, in turn, led to film roles.

Dunne proved to be an enormously gifted actress with a capacity for drama, keen comic timing, and a flair for musicals. Despite her many talents, she is arguably one of the most versatile actresses to never win an Oscar. However, she did not live for her acting ambitions alone. Rather, she found far more meaning in life from human relationships, faith, and the unscripted. She was a soul who was forever anchored to home and family, and ceased her acting career to become a wife and mother. She married a dentist, Doctor Francis Griffin, and the couple adopted a daughter named Mary Frances. Dunne remained married to Griffin until his death.

In the remaining years of her life, she dedicated much of her time to the Roman Catholic Church and Republican causes. Dunne lived for God and others, not for celebrity. Though a wonderful actress, her legacy is truly grounded in the Christian values and meaningful relationships she lived and cultivated.

Today, we continue to remember Irene Dunne as a lovely, unassuming soul, in perfect control of her many talents. However, we are especially lucky to have someone here today who knew Dunne on a far more personal level. It is my great pleasure to introduce Ann-Marie Streibich, granddaughter of Irene Dunne…

 

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