Irene Rich was an elegant, intelligent, mature leading woman. Talented and versatile, she found herself in a wide variety of roles, often much older than her real age. She really shines in Lubitsch's Lady Windermere's Fan (1925), able to convey the wit and sophistication of the missing Wilde lines with just a glance. She found a niche at Warner Brothers in the late 20's playing a series of melodrama heroines in films now largely lost. She was in the first version of Craig's Wife (1928) at Pathe, also now lost. Despite her fine voice, studios seemed to lose interest in her when the talkies came in, and she dropped down to small parts, mostly as mothers. But in a small but showy role in Strangers May Kiss (1931) she showed she could still steal a film. Undeterred, she turned to radio, making a second, well respected, career on the air.
©2001, by Greta de Groat. All Rights Reserved
Last revised November 27, 2008