“When we have learned to love our neighbor, not just ourselves, no matter where we come from, then America will be perfect.”
“Trying to build the brotherhood of man without the Fatherhood of God is like having the spokes of a wheel without the hub”.
Dunne was nominated five times for the Academy Award for Best Actress – for her performances in Cimarron (1931), Theodora Goes Wild (1936), The Awful Truth (1937), Love Affair (1939), and I Remember Mama (1948).
Dunne earned a diploma to teach art, but took a chance on a contest and won a prestigious scholarship to the Chicago Musical College, where she graduated in 1926. With a soprano voice, she had hopes of becoming an opera singer, but did not pass the audition with the Metropolitan Opera Company.
On July 16, 1927, Dunne married Francis Griffin, a New York dentist, whom she had met in 1924 at a supper dance in New York. Despite differing opinions and battles that raged furiously, Dunne eventually agreed to marry him. Dunne later moved to Hollywood with her mother and brother and maintained a long-distance marriage with her husband in New York until he joined her in California in 1936.
Dunne remained married to Dr. Francis Griffin until his death on October 14, 1965. They lived in Holmby Hills, California, in a Southern plantation-style mansion they designed.
They had one daughter, Mary Frances (née Anna Mary Bush), who was adopted in 1936 (finalized in 1938) from the New York Foundling Hospital, run by the Sisters of Charity of New York. Both she and her husband were members of the Knights of Malta.
Dunne was a devout Catholic who became a daily communicant. She was a member of the Church of the Good Shepherd and the Catholic Motion Picture Guild in Beverly Hills, California. She was good friends with actress Loretta Young and remained close to others like Jimmy Stewart.
She was one of the most active supporters of the Republican Party in Hollywood, and campaigned for Richard Nixon in 1960. She later supported Ronald Reagan’s two runs for Governor of California and his two presidential campaigns.
Dunne commented in an interview that she had lacked the “terrifying ambition” of some other actresses and said, “I drifted into acting and drifted out. Acting is not everything. Living is.”