Here are 10 things you should know about Douglass Dumbrille, born 131 years ago today. The prolific character actor amassed more than 210 film and TV credits.
Here are 10 things you should know about Dorothy Mackaill, born 117 years ago today. She made 65 pictures before the age of 35 and then retired to a life outside the spotlight.
- Dunne’s father was a government steamboat inspector and her mother was a concert pianist and music teacher.
- Her father died with Dunne was six and she moved with her mother and younger brother to her mother’s hometown, Madison, Indiana.
- Dunne was raised Roman Catholic and remained devout for the rest of her life.
- She attended Chicago Musical College on a scholarship and had designs on a career as an operatic soprano, but her audition for the Metropolitan Opera Company in NYC was not a success.
- Having added an “e” to her last name, Dunne then set her sights on musical theatre. She toured in the popular play Irene in the early 1920s and made her Broadway debut in 1922 in The Clinging Vine by Zelda Sears.
- She earned a role in Showboat after meeting Flo Ziegfeld in an elevator, and it was while touring in that show that she was discovered by Hollywood, signing a contract with RKO in 1929. Her first film role was in Leathernecking (1930), based on the musical Present Arms.
- Dunne, who had married Francis Griffin, a New York dentist, in 1927, moved to Hollywood with her mother and brother, maintaining a long-distance relationship with Griffin for more than five years. He finally moved west in 1936.
- Dunne was originally featured in dramas and musicals and is said to be have been hesitant to tackle comedies, but she hit the comic ground running in 1936 in Theodora Goes Wild. She would go on to excel in screwball and romantic comedies, including The Awful Truth (1937) and My Favorite Wife (1940).
- Dunne’s last film was It Grows on Trees (1952), though she worked on radio and television after that. “I drifted into acting and drifted out,” she once said. “Acting is not everything. Living is.”
- Dunne was nominated five times for the Best Actress Oscar—for Cimarron (1931), Theodora Goes Wild, The Awful Truth, Love Affair (1939) and I Remember Mama (1948)—but never took home the statuette.
Happy birthday, Irene Dunne, wherever you may be!
FROM GAGS TO RICHES
Two remarkable women died this week, and we wanted to make sure the Cladrite Clan knew of their passings and, more importantly, the amazing lives they led:
Obituary: Doris Eaton Travis, 106, was a chorus girl in the Ziegfeld Follies
By Adam Bernstein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Doris Eaton Travis, who died May 11 at age 106, traversed one of the longest and more inspiring careers in show business. On stage since childhood, she was the youngest chorus girl ever hired in the Ziegfeld Follies, a popular theatrical spectacle of the early 20th century designed to “glorify the American girl.”
By the time of her death from an aneurysm at a hospital in Commerce, Mich., Mrs. Travis was the last surviving chorus girl from the Follies, according to Ziegfeld archivist Nils Hanson. He said Mrs. Travis’s death “marks the end of the Ziegfeld golden era of Broadway.”
An American counterpart to the Folies Bergre in Paris, the original Ziegfeld Follies ran from 1907 to 1931 and featured some of the top entertainers of the day, including W.C. Fields and Will Rogers. It introduced songs by Irving Berlin and other leading pop composers… Read more
Rosa Rio, 107; organist went from silent films to soap operas and back again
By Matt Schudel
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, May 16, 2010
In August, at the age of 107, she was still at the keyboard in Tampa, providing accompaniment for a screening of Buster Keaton’s silent film “One Week.” The movie was made in 1920, when Miss Rio was already a seasoned musician of 18.
Miss Rio’s 97-year career in show business came to an end May 13, when she died at her home in Sun City Center, Fla. She was less than three weeks shy of her 108th birthday. She had broken her hip in March and developed an infection and influenza, but in the past week, she was still practicing at home on her nine-foot concert grand piano.
After moving to Florida in 1993, Miss Rio provided live musical accompaniment to dozens of silent films at the historic Tampa Theatre, reprising what she had done more than 80 years earlier, when the movies were new… Read more