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Irene Frances Luther
October 13, 1891
Buffalo, New York, U.S.
|Died||April 22, 1988 96) (aged|
Hope Ranch, California, U.S.
(m. 1909;div. 1911)
(m. 1912;div. 1916)
David F. Blankenhorn
(m. 1927;div. 1931)
George Henry Clifford
(m. 1950;died 1959)
|Children||2, including Frances Rich|
Irene Rich (born Irene Frances Luther; October 13, 1891 – April 22, 1988) was an American actress who worked in both silent films and talkies, as well as radio.
Rich was born in Buffalo, New York –1961) and younger brother, Richard Robinson Luther.[ citation needed ]to Mabel A. Luther (née Robinson) and William Martin Luther. She was raised in the Buffalo area and then Stites, Idaho, and Spokane, Washington with her older half-brother Edwin Darius Luther (1884
At age 17, she wed Elvo Elcourt Deffenbaugh at All Saints' Cathedral in Spokane, Washington on February 17, 1909,after her parents talked about sending her to boarding school. The couple had one child, born Irene Frances Luther Deffenbaugh, who later adopted her stepfather's surname and was a stage and film actress in the 1930s known as Frances Rich before becoming a noted sculptor. Elvo Deffenbaugh was a salesman who traveled a lot. The young family moved to the Bay Area of San Francisco, where the marriage ended after two years.
Next, Irene married Charles Henry Rich, who was then a lieutenant in the United States Army (became a major during World War I and was later a lieutenant colonel), in Portland, Oregon on January 9, 1912. The two had met when he was stationed with the 25th Infantry at Fort George Wright in Spokane.They had one daughter, Martha Jane Rich, who was born on December 13, 1916. The marriage ended after four years. Luther went into real estate to provide for herself and her daughters. She then went to Hollywood in 1918 and found work as an extra.
Rich worked for Will Rogers, who used her in eight pictures, including Water Water Everywhere (1920), The Strange Boarder (1920), Jes' Call Me Jim (1920), Boys Will Be Boys (1921) and The Ropin' Fool (1921). She often portrayed society women, such as in the 1925 adaptation of Lady Windermere's Fan and also in Queen of the Yukon (1940). In two of her last films she played a frontier wife and mother. She was the mother of Gail Russell's character 'Penelope Worth', in John Wayne's Angel and the Badman as well as in John Ford's cavalry story Fort Apache in which she portrayed Mrs. O'Rourke, the wife of Sergeant O'Rourke (Ward Bond).[ citation needed ]
In the 1930s, Rich did much work in radio. From 1933 to 1944, she hosted a nationwide anthology program of serialized mini-dramas, Dear John (aka The Irene Rich Show). Her leading man was actor Gale Gordon, (who later played Lucille Ball's apoplectic boss "Mr. Mooney" on TV). In the early 1940s, Rich starred in Glorious One on NBC Blue. [ citation needed ]Rich appeared in stage productions, including Seven Keys to Baldpate (1935) which starred George M. Cohan, the creator of the play, and later As the Girls Go in 1948.
Rich married for the third time on April 6, 1927, in Del Monte, California, to real estate mogul David Ferguson Blankenhorn (1886-1969), at the home of William May Garland. Blankenhorn was well known in the Los Angeles real estate market, was a longtime resident of Pasadena and San Francisco, and handled the transaction of William Wrigley, Jr. purchasing Catalina Island in 1919.Rich and Blankenhorn separated at least three times in the summer and fall of 1931, they filed for divorce on October 30, 1931, they were divorced that November.
She became involved in a deadly love triangle in 1949 when Agnes Elizabeth Garnier shot and killed wealthy businessman John Edwin Owen (1881–1949). Owen, formerly a businessman and politician from Michigan, was president of the National Apartment House Owner's Association, among other business interests, including cattle and horse ranching in Gunnison, Colorado and Riverside, California. The Riverside County Sheriff's Department investigator said that Garnier killed Owen (who was married, but estranged and separated from his wife) and blamed Rich for coming between them. Garnier, Owen's personal secretary, told the district attorney that the gun went off accidentally and she took the gun from an intoxicated Owen as he was going to bed. Rich said that she was not in love with Owen and that they were just friends. Garnier plead not guilty. The prosecutor decided not to try for first degree murder, and she was found guilty of manslaughter, and received a sentence of "one-to-ten" years. Garnier, after losing her appeal in January 1950, was released from Tehachapi Prison after serving less than a year-and-a-half, in May 1951. She died in San Diego in 1990 at the age of 93.
Rich was married four times, the first time at age 17. She had two daughters, Frances and Jane. [ citation needed ]On February 28, 1950, Rich married her last husband, George Henry Clifford (1881-1959), a public utilities executive, at the Sherry-Netherlands Hotel in New York City. He was president of Stone & Webster Service Corporation. The couple bought an avocado ranch within Hope Ranch, near Santa Barbara, in 1956, where they lived out the remainder of their lives.
On April 22, 1988, Irene Rich died at age 96 of heart failure in Hope Ranch, California.
Rich has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for her contribution to the motion picture industry at 6225 Hollywood Boulevard and one for her contributions to the radio industry at 6150 Hollywood Boulevard.
|1918||A Desert Wooing||Bit Role||print survives, Uncreidted|
|The Girl in His House||Betty Burlingham||lost|
|A Law Unto Herself||Stephanie||print survives|
|1919||Todd of the Times||Janet Milton||lost|
|A Man in the Open||Kate||lost|
|Diane of the Green Van||Keela||lost|
|The Silver Girl||Julia Raymond||print survives|
|Castles in the Air||Mrs. Owen Pauncefort||lost|
|The Lone Star Ranger||Mrs. Laramie||lost|
|The Blue Bonnet||Martha Drake||lost|
|The Sneak||Enid Granley||lost|
|Wolves of the Night||Juanita||lost|
|Her Purchase Price||Marda||lost|
|The Spite Bride||Eileen Moore||print survives|
|1920||Water, Water, Everywhere||Hope Beecher||lost|
|The Street Called Straight||Drusilla Fane||lost|
|The Strange Boarder||Jane Ingraham||lost|
|Jes' Call Me Jim||Miss Butterworth||print survives|
|Stop Thief||Madge Carr||print survives|
|Just Out of College||Miss Jones||lost|
|Godless Men||Black Pawl's Wife||print survives|
|1921||Sunset Jones||Marion Rand||lost|
|One Man in a Million||Madame Maureveau||lost|
|Boys Will Be Boys||Lucy||lost|
|A Tale of Two Worlds||Mrs. Carmichael||print survives|
|A Voice in the Dark||Blanche Walton||print survives|
|Desperate Trails||Mrs. Walker||lost|
|The Invisible Power||Laura Chadwick||lost|
|The Poverty of Riches||Mrs. Holt||lost|
|1922||The Call of Home||Alix Lansing||lost|
|Strength of the Pines||Linda||lost|
|The Trap||The Teacher||print survives|
|One Clear Call||Maggie Thornton||print survives|
|A Fool There Was||Mrs. Schuyler||lost|
|The Yosemite Trail||Eve Marsham||lost|
|The Ropin' Fool||The Girl||Short|
|Brawn of the North||Marion Wells||lost|
|While Justice Waits||Nell Hunt||lost|
|The Marriage Chance||Mary Douglas||lost|
|Fruits of Faith||Larry's Wife||Short|
|1923||Dangerous Trails||Grace Alderson||print survives; Lobster Films|
|Brass||Mrs. Grotenberg / aka Mrs. G||print survives|
|Michael O'Halloran||Nellie Minturn||lost|
|Yesterday's Wife||Megan Daye||lost|
|Rosita||The Queen||print survives|
|Defying Destiny||Beth Alden||print survives (available for online viewing)|
|Lucretia Lombard||Lucretia Morgan||print survives|
|Boy of Mine||Ruth Latimer||lost|
|1924||Pal o' Mine||Julia Montfort||print survives|
|Beau Brummel||Frederica Charlotte, Duchess of York||print survives|
|Being Respectable||Suzanne Schuyler||lost|
|Captain January||Isabelle Morton||print survives|
|A Woman Who Sinned||Mrs. Ransdell||lost|
|Behold This Woman||Louise Maurel|
|What the Butler Saw||Mrs. Barrington||*this is a British by Gaumont|
|This Woman||Carol Drayton||print survives; Lobster Films|
|A Lost Lady||Marian Forrester||lost|
|1925||My Wife and I||Mrs. James Borden||lost|
|The Man Without a Conscience||Shirley Graves||print survives|
|Eve's Lover||Eva Burnside||lost|
|The Wife Who Wasn't Wanted||Mrs. John Mannering||lost|
|Pleasure Buyers||Joan Wiswell||print held; Museum of Modern Art, New York|
|Lady Windermere's Fan||Mrs. Erlynne||print survives|
|1926||Silken Shackles||Denise Lake||lost|
|The Honeymoon Express||Mary Lambert||lost|
|My Official Wife||Helene, Countess Orloff||lost|
|1927||Don't Tell the Wife||Mrs. Cartier||lost|
|The Climbers||Duchess of Arrogan||lost|
|Dearie||Sylvia Darling / aka "Dearie"||lost|
|The Desired Woman||Diana Maxwell||lost|
|The Silver Slave||Bernice Randall||lost|
|1928||Beware of Married Men||Myra Martin||print survives, incomplete (1 reel only)|
|Across the Atlantic||Minor Role||lost, Uncredited|
|Powder My Back||Fritzi Foy||lost|
|Craig's Wife||Mrs. Craig||lost|
|The Perfect Crime||Stella||lost, first Irene Rich film to have dialogue, a part-talkie from FBO|
|Women They Talk About||Irene Mervin Hughes||lost|
|Ned McCobb's Daughter||Carol||lost|
|1929||Daughters of Desire|
|The Exalted Flapper||Queen Charlotte of Capra||lost|
|They Had to See Paris||Idy Peters|
|Shanghai Rose||Shanghai Rose||*final pure silent film;including versions with Movietone or Vitaphone|
|1930||So This Is London||Mrs. Hiram Draper|
|On Your Back||Julianne|
|Check and Double Check||Mrs. Blair|
|1931||Beau Ideal||Lady Brandon|
|Father's Son||Ruth Emory|
|Strangers May Kiss||Celia|
|Five and Ten||Jenny Rarick|
|The Mad Parade||Mrs. Schuyler|
|The Champ||Linda Carleton|
|1932||Down to Earth||Idy Peters|
|Her Mad Night||Joan Manners|
|Manhattan Tower||Ann Burns|
|1938||Hollywood Handicap||Woman at Racetrack||Short, Uncredited|
|That Certain Age||Dorothy Fullerton|
|1939||The Right Way||Mrs. Martin||Short|
|Everybody's Hobby||Mrs. Myra Leslie|
|1940||The Mortal Storm||Mrs. Emilia Roth|
|The Lady in Question||Michele Morestan|
|The Queen of the Yukon||Sadie Martin|
|Keeping Company||Mrs. Thomas|
|1941||Three Sons o' Guns||Mrs. Margaret Patterson|
|1942||This Time for Keeps||Mrs. Bryant||Alternative title: Over the Waves|
|1947||Calendar Girl||Lulu Varden||Alternative title: Star Dust and Sweet Music|
|Angel and the Badman||Mrs. Worth|
|New Orleans||Mrs. Rutledge Smith|
|1948||Fort Apache||Mary O'Rourke|
|Joan of Arc||Catherine le Royer|
|1949||The Chevrolet Tele-Theatre||1 episode, (final appearance)|
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