Irene Dunne was a different kind of leading lady (and lady is the operative word here). She was a triple threat. She could do comedy, drama and she sang well too. She starred in weepies, so-called womens’ pictures, and held her own nicely in musicals (one costar was Fred Astaire).
And, she could also exude, discreetly of course, a fair amount of sex appeal. See her quietly smoldering performance opposite Charles Boyer in 1939’s Love Affair.
Even so, she wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea — as we’ll see in the course of unraveling our Monday Quiz. As usual, questions today and answers tomorrow. Here we go:
1) Question: When it came to the Oscars, Dunne was always a bridesmaid never a bride. She was nominated in the best actress category for five films. Which one of the following was she NOT nominated for? a) Cimarron; b) The Awful Truth; c) Theodora Goes Wild; or d) The Secret of Madame Blanche.
2) Question: Throughout her career, Dunne held fast to a private secret to looking young. What was it? a) Drinking lots of red wine; b) Repeated mud baths and lots of sex; c) Staying out of the sun; or d) Getting as much sleep as possible.
3) Question: What was Dunne’s nickname? (Hint: check out today’s introduction.) a) Red Hot Momma; b) Miss Goody Two-Shoes; c) First Lady of Hollywood; or d) My Girl Marie.
4) Question: Who of the following was most instrumental in starting Dunne’s career? a) Irving Thalberg; b) Sypros Skouras; c) Howard Hughes; or d) Richard Dix.
5) Question: Which one of the following Dunne titles was her personal favorite movie? a) Love Affair; b) 1935’s Magnificent Obsession; c) 1935’s Roberta; or d) 1952’s It Grows On Trees.
6) Question: Not all of Hollywood’s classic leading men found Dunne irresistible. Which one of the following is on record as saying, “I hated her as an actress?” a) Yul Brynner; b) Adolph Manjou; c) Orson Welles; or d) Dean Jagger.
7) Question: What did Dunne and actress Peggy Wood have in common? a) They each plowed through multiple offscreen marriages; b) Both were straight arrow types; c) Both were ahead of their times by playing forceful womens’ roles; or d) Both played Marta Hansen, the immigrant Norwegian mother in “I Remember Mama.”
8) Question: Dunne scored multiple screen successes playing the wives of Cary Grant in how many movies? a) five; b) three; c) nine; or d) seven. Can you name them?
9) Question: Which classic Broadway musical is most closely identified with Dunne’s classic acting career? a) Flying High; b) The Band Wagon; c) Show Boat; or d) Of Thee I Sing.
10) Question: Dunne considered all of the following — with one exception — her closest Hollywood friends. Who is the exception? a) Loretta Young; b) Bob Hope; c) James Stewart; or d) Orson Welles.