Irene Bordoni

Active - 1929 - 1941  |   Born - Jan 16, 1895   |   Died - Mar 19, 1953   |   Genres - Musical, Comedy

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Biography by Hans J. Wollstein

A vaudeville and musical headliner from Corsica, Irene Bordoni was one of the first Broadway stars to heed the call of the newly vocalized Hollywood. Usually described as "piquant," Bordoni's rolling eyes, pursed lips, comedic hauteur, and voluminous gowns were rather too flamboyant for the screen, however, and despite a couple of Cole Porter numbers, neither she nor her British leading man, the brittle Jack Buchanan, found favor with the movie-going audience. Paris (1929), her highly anticipated screen debut, made money for its backers, First National, but not enough and Bordoni returned to wow them once again on Broadway. She was back in Hollywood playing herself in Just a Gigolo (1932) and was still rolling those big orbs of hers as the notorious restaurateur Madame Bordelaise in the Bob Hope comedy Louisiana Purchase (1941), which she had also performed on Broadway. It was her final screen performance. Irene Bordoni was one stage luminary whose considerable charms failed to translate to the screen.