Josephine Dunn: From the Chorus to a WAMPAS

Josephine Dunn (1906-1983) was only 14 years old when she was hired to be a chorus girl at the Winter Garden Theatre in 1920. From here she went into an out of town production of Good Morning Dearie (1921), and nearly two dozen other theatrical productions followed, including a touring edition of the Ziegfeld Follies, and the Broadway show Dear Sir (1924).

Selected for the Paramount Pictures School, Dunn made her screen debut as a walk-on in Fascinating Youth (1926) with Buddy Rogers, followed by It’s the Old Army Game with W.C. Fields and Louise Brooks, and D.W. Griffith’s The Sorrows of Satan, all 1926. She had a leading role in Fireman, Save My Child (1927) with Wallace Beery. After returning to Broadway to appear in Pickwick (1927), she was third billed in the musical The Singing Fool (1928) with Al Jolson and Betty Bronson. In 1929 she became one of the prestigious WAMPAS Baby Stars, which seemed to bode well for the sound era, although pretty much all of the films she starred in through 1932 have been forgotten. She returned to Broadway for two more shows, Take a Chance (1932-33), and Between Two Worlds (1934). Then she appeared in the independent film The Seminoles (1935), and the public service movie Birth of a Baby (1938), capping off her acting career.

In 1935 Dunn married her fourth and final husband, Carroll Case, son of Frank Case, owner of the Algonquin Hotel.

To learn more about vintsge show biz, please see No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, and for more on silent film, please read Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube