Stars of Vaudeville #495: Irene Rich
Today is the birthday of film and radio actress Irene Rich (1891-1988). The house wife and real estate broker began working as a film extra in 1918 and quickly worked her way up to substantial parts in westerns and Will Rogers pictures, all the way through the silent era and quite far into talkies. Two of her best known pictures are among her last: Angel and the Badman (1947) and Fort Apache (1948). She retired from the screen in 1950. She also had her own national radio show from 1933 through 1944, Dear John a.k.a. The Irene Rich Show. She appeared in big time vaudeville when already a star, during the late 1920s when it was thought that public appearances would boost her transition to sound.
In the pre-code Her Mad Night (1932) she plays a woman accused of killing a man who molested her young daughter.
To find out more about show business past and present, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.
For more on silent and slapstick comedy please see my new book Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc