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Irene Rich
Rich in 1930
Irene Frances Luther

(1891-10-13)October 13, 1891
DiedApril 22, 1988(1988-04-22) (aged 96)
Years active1918–1949
Elvo Deffenbaugh
(m. 1909; div. 1911)
Charles Rich
(m. 1912; div. 1916)
David F. Blankenhorn
(m. 1927; div. 1931)
George Henry Clifford
(m. 1950; died 1959)
Children2, including Frances Rich

Irene Frances Rich (née Luther; October 13, 1891 – April 22, 1988) was an American actress who worked in both silent films, talkies, and radio.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • 10 Things You Should Know About Irene Rich
  • "Jes' Call Me Jim" (1920) with Will Rogers, Irene Rich
  • A Bloody Nose and Drunkenness Bring Them Together | Irene & Shin Seung Ho | Double Patty
  • Penny Serenade (1941) IRENE DUNNE/CARY GRANT /Full Movie


Early life

Irene Rich

Rich was born in Buffalo, New York.[1]

At age 17, she wed Elvo Elcourt Deffenbaugh at All Saints' Cathedral in Spokane, Washington on February 17, 1909,[2] 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.[1]

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.[3] They had one daughter, Martha Jane Rich, who was born on December 13, 1916.[4] 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.[1]


Rich with Will Rogers and Theodore Lodi in Down to Earth, 1932

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).

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.[5] 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.[citation needed]

Personal life

Irene Rich, Gail Russell and John Wayne in Angel and the Badman (1947)

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.[6] Rich and Blankenhorn separated at least three times in the summer and fall of 1931,[7] they filed for divorce on October 30, 1931,[8] 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 Owners' 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.[9] Garnier pleaded not guilty.[10] The prosecutor decided not to try for first degree murder,[11] and she was found guilty of manslaughter, and received a sentence of "one-to-ten" years.[12] Garnier, after losing her appeal in January 1950,[13] was released from Tehachapi Prison in May 1951 after serving less than a year-and-a-half.[14] She died in San Diego in 1990 at the age of 93.[15]

Family and death

Rich was married four times, the first time at age 17. She had two daughters, Frances and Jane.[1] On February 28, 1950, Rich married her last husband, George Henry Clifford (1881–1959), a public utilities executive, at The Sherry-Netherland Hotel in New York City. He was president of Stone & Webster Service Corporation.[16] The couple bought an avocado ranch within Hope Ranch, near Santa Barbara, in 1956,[17] where they lived out the remainder of their lives.[citation needed]

On April 22, 1988, Irene Rich died at age 96 of heart failure in Hope Ranch, California.[1]

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.


Year Title Role Notes
1918 A Desert Wooing Bit Role Uncredited
The Girl in His House Betty Burlingham Lost film
A Law Unto Herself Stephanie
1919 Todd of the Times Janet Milton Lost film
The Man in the Open Kate Lost film
Diane of the Green Van Keela Lost film
The Silver Girl Julia Raymond
Castles in the Air Mrs. Owen Pauncefort Lost film
The Lone Star Ranger Mrs. Laramie Lost film
The Blue Bonnet Martha Drake Lost film
The Sneak Enid Granley Lost film
Wolves of the Night Juanita Lost film
Her Purchase Price Marda Lost film
The Spite Bride Eileen Moore
1920 Water, Water, Everywhere Hope Beecher Lost film
The Street Called Straight Drusilla Fane Lost film
The Strange Boarder Jane Ingraham Lost film
Jes' Call Me Jim Miss Butterworth
Stop Thief Madge Carr
Just Out of College Miss Jones Lost film
Godless Men Black Pawl's Wife
1921 Sunset Jones Marion Rand Lost film
One Man in a Million Madame Maureveau Lost film
Boys Will Be Boys Lucy Lost film
A Tale of Two Worlds Mrs. Carmichael
A Voice in the Dark Blanche Walton
Desperate Trails Mrs. Walker Lost film
The Invisible Power Laura Chadwick Lost film
The Poverty of Riches Mrs. Holt Lost film
1922 The Call of Home Alix Lansing Lost film
Strength of the Pines Linda Lost film
The Trap The Teacher
One Clear Call Maggie Thornton
A Fool There Was Mrs. Schuyler Lost film
The Yosemite Trail Eve Marsham Lost film
The Ropin' Fool The Girl Short
Brawn of the North Marion Wells Lost film
While Justice Waits Nell Hunt Lost film
The Marriage Chance Mary Douglas Lost film
Fruits of Faith Larry's Wife Short
1923 Dangerous Trails Grace Alderson
Brass Mrs. Grotenberg / aka Mrs. G
Snowdrift Kitty Lost film
Michael O'Halloran Nellie Minturn Lost film
Yesterday's Wife Megan Daye Lost film
Rosita The Queen
Defying Destiny Beth Alden
Lucretia Lombard Lucretia Morgan
Boy of Mine Ruth Latimer Lost film
1924 Pal o' Mine Julia Montfort
Beau Brummel Frederica Charlotte, Duchess of York
Cytherea Fanny Randon Lost film
Being Respectable Suzanne Schuyler Lost film
Captain January Isabelle Morton
A Woman Who Sinned Mrs. Ransdell Lost film
Behold This Woman Louise Maurel
What the Butler Saw Mrs. Barrington
This Woman Carol Drayton
A Lost Lady Marian Forrester Lost film
1925 My Wife and I Mrs. James Borden Lost film
The Man Without a Conscience Shirley Graves
Eve's Lover Eva Burnside Lost film
The Wife Who Wasn't Wanted Mrs. John Mannering Lost film
Compromise Joan Trevore Lost film
The Pleasure Buyers Joan Wiswell
Lady Windermere's Fan Mrs. Erlynne
1926 Silken Shackles Denise Lake Lost film
The Honeymoon Express Mary Lambert Lost film
My Official Wife Helene, Countess Orloff Lost film
1927 Don't Tell the Wife Mrs. Cartier Lost film
The Climbers Duchess of Arrogan Lost film
Dearie Sylvia Darling / aka "Dearie" Lost film
The Desired Woman Diana Maxwell Lost film
The Silver Slave Bernice Randall Lost film
1928 Beware of Married Men Myra Martin Incomplete film, one reel survives
Across the Atlantic Minor Role Lost film
Powder My Back Fritzi Foy Lost film
Craig's Wife Mrs. Craig Lost film
The Perfect Crime Stella Lost film
first Irene Rich film to have dialogue, a part-talkie from FBO
Women They Talk About Irene Mervin Hughes Lost film
Ned McCobb's Daughter Carol Lost film
1929 Daughters of Desire
The Exalted Flapper Queen Charlotte of Capra Lost film
They Had to See Paris Idy Peters
Shanghai Rose Shanghai Rose
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
Wicked Mrs. Luther
The Champ Linda Carleton
1932 Down to Earth Idy Peters
Her Mad Night Joan Manners
Manhattan Tower Ann Burns
1934 Spitfire Woman (scenes deleted)
1938 Hollywood Handicap Woman at Racetrack Short
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
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
Year Title Role Notes
1949 The Chevrolet Tele-Theatre 1 episode, (final appearance)


  1. ^ a b c d e Flint, Peter B. (April 25, 1988), "Irene Rich, Silent-Screen Actress And Radio Personality, Dies at 96", The New York Times
  2. ^ "Society", The Spokesman-Review, p. 2, February 21, 1909
  3. ^ "Spokane Society Woman Becomes Bride Of Lieutenant From Fort", Spokane Daily Chronicle, p. 3, January 9, 1912
  4. ^ California Birth Index - California Department of Health Services Office of Health Information and Research.
  5. ^ "(photo caption)" (PDF). Radio and Television Mirror. 14 (6): 26. October 1940. Retrieved March 10, 2015.
  6. ^ "Irene Rich Is Married", The Spokesman-Review, Associated Press, April 7, 1927
  7. ^ Merrick, Mollie (October 30, 1931), "Stars And Talkies Of Hollywood", The Spokesman-Review, North American Newspaper Alliance, p. 5
  8. ^ "Irene Rich Cruel, Charge", The Spokesman-Review, Associated Press, p. 1, October 30, 1931
  9. ^ "Woman Held For Killing Wealthy Man", St. Petersburg Times, Associated Press, p. 1, April 24, 1949
  10. ^ "Owen Case Witness Names Irene Rich", Los Angeles Times, p. 4, May 10, 1949
  11. ^ Ryon, Art (June 17, 1949), "Garnier Case May Go to Jury Today", Los Angeles Times, p. 5
  12. ^ Ryon, Art (June 18, 1949), "Mrs. Garnier Convicted of Manslaughter", Los Angeles Times, p. 1
  13. ^ "Mrs. Garnier Must Go to Prison for Slaying", Los Angeles Times, p. 4, January 19, 1950
  14. ^ "Mrs. Gamier Is Released From Prison", Los Angeles Times, p. A, May 9, 1951
  15. ^ California Death Index. - California Department of Health Services Office of Health Information and Research.
  16. ^ "Irene Rich To Marry Again", The Hartford Courant, p. 2, February 28, 1950
  17. ^ "Drama", Los Angeles Times, p. 26, March 5, 1956

External links

This page was last edited on 12 May 2024, at 10:15
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