"Terrible copy - but awfully charming."
(Elizabeth Wilson, "Silver Screen")
The above quote summed up the reporter's feelings about Irene as a news item through the years.
When Irene started out in Hollywood in 1930 and quickly became successful, the Hollywood publicity machine tried to get grip on her - but in vain. There just weren't any juicy,saucy stories to tell, Irene never made cheesecake photos or accepted a faked bio.
The last attempt to make good copy out of Irene was to take advantage of her marital situation. From 1930-36 Irene and her husband Dr.Francis ("Frank") Griffin lived bi-coastal: Frank continuing his dental practice in New York, Irene making one film after the other on the West Coast. Being suspicious about this set-up and a happy "Hollywood" marriage in general - publicists tried to create hot copy out of this situation. Fed up with speculations about a pending divorce, Frank finally issued a statement:"I'm behind her all the time in everything she does. She cooperates with me as well and we both work together." At last Hollywood had to accept a working, happy marriage.
In 1936 the Hollywood press fan magazines kind of gave up on Irene - in a story called "This Is Really Irene Dunne" Sara Hamilton wrote for "Photoplay", April 1936:"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."
Like Irene said once:"My private life is quiet."
Of course Irene was too big a star not to write about her at all, but in the reports her image as a lady was usually reinforced - even racy mags like "Film Fun" ran harmless film stills of Irene. There were Irene Dunne stories in the press but in relation to her popularity very few.
Nonetheless those articles are interesting to read - especially of course the ones written by Irene - as products of their time and as source of Irene tidbits.
Magazine articles in chronological order
Newspaper articles in chronological order