James Dunn

Active - 1931 - 1967  |   Born - Nov 2, 1901   |   Died - Sep 3, 1967   |   Genres - Drama, Comedy, Romance, Crime, Western

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American actor James Dunn's early career embraced bit parts in silent pictures, vaudeville, and Broadway before he made his talking picture bow in Bad Girl (1931). For the next several years, Dunn appeared in sentimental "lovable scamp" leading roles; he also helped introduce Shirley Temple to feature films by co-starring with the diminutive dynamo in Stand Up and Cheer, Baby Take a Bow, and Bright Eyes, all released in 1934. When Fox merged with 20th Century Pictures in 1935, the type of domestic comedy-dramas and free-wheeling musicals in which Dunn specialized came to an end; by the end of the 1930s Dunn's appearance were confined to "B" pictures and poverty-row quickies. Dunn was given a comeback chance as Peggy Ann Garner's irresponsible alcoholic father in the 1945 drama A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. The actor won an Academy Award for his performance. Eight years passed before Dunn would be seen in films again, though he found occasional solace in TV work, including his tenure as the star of a 1955 sitcom, It's a Great Life. Dunn's final movie role, filmed two years before his death, was a minor part as an agent in the all-star "trash classic" The Oscar (1966).

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