Irene Rich

Irene Rich
Elmer Fryer / First National Pictures


Irene Rich
Radio: South side of the 6100 block of Hollywood Boulevard
Irene Rich
Film: North side of the 6200 block of Hollywood Boulevard
Born Irene Luther on Oct. 13, 1891 in Buffalo, N.Y.
Died April 22, 1988 in Santa Barbara, CA

Irene Rich was a glamorous actress who played Will Rogers' nagging wife in 1930s films and read radio's World War II-era "Dear John" letters.

She was a San Francisco real estate agent before she got her first movie job as an extra in Mary Pickford's "Stella Maris" in 1918.

Soon, she had graduated to starring roles in silent melodramas, usually portraying mature women of the world, and in short films with Rogers.

By the late 1920s and early 1930s, she was playing Will Rogers' wife in talkies, including "They Had to See Paris," "So This is London" and "Down to Earth."

From 1933 to 1945, she was a popular radio star, reading "Dear John" letters to introduce and close Sunday-night episodes on the Welch's Grape Juice program.

The term "Dear John" became soldiers' slang for mail from a lover breaking off a romance.

Later, Rich appeared in 21 Warner Bros. movies—including "Lady Windermere's Fan" in 1925, "Craig's Wife" in 1928 and "The Champ" in 1931. She also performed in several Broadway shows.

She retired from show business after her fourth marriage, to George H. Clifford, in 1950.

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