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Born August 3rd, 1907 in Denver, Colorado, Irene Tedrow began her acting career as a teen. She trained in drama at Carnegie Tech in Pittsburgh, PA, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1929.
By industry standards, Irene was quite attractive in her younger days. As she aged, her features grew more severe, lending to her being cast as puritanical meddlers and no-nonsense matrons. She seldom, if ever, found a meaty part, appearing way, way down the list of credits, if at all.
She was the recipient of much acclaim at another Old Globe venue in 1934—this time at Chicago’s World Fair, where she performed the roles of eighteen Shakespearean heroines in tandem with the Maurice Evans Company.
Irene had regular roles on daytime dramas like Aunt Mary (as Jessie Calvert) and The Gallant Heart (as Captain Julia Porter), and played opposite Donald Crisp (and later Gale Gordon) on the 1946 newspaper drama Jonathan Trimble, Esquire.
She was Dorothy Regent (left), sister of Chandu the Magician, when that character was revived for an ABC series in 1948.
A founding member of the Old Globe Theatre, Irene was featured in such classical productions as "Richard III," "Hamlet" and "Henry IV, Part I." She became a primary player on radio during the war years, including a role in 1951’s popular Meet Corliss Archer.
Irene married William Kent, a German immigrant, insurance broker, and refugee from Hitler's Nazi regime.
On the silver screen, Irene appeared in close to fifty feature films—often uncredited, but she graced such classics as Cheers for Miss Bishop, The Moon and Sixpence, Journey Into Fear, The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry, They Won’t Believe Me, Thieves’ Highway, The Company She Keeps, A Lion is in the Streets, Not as a Stranger, Loving You, Saddle the Wind, Never So Few, Please Don’t Eat the Daisies, The Parent Trap, and The Cincinnati Kid.
Her most prominent television role was that of Ms. Lucy Elkins—one of several neighbors on Dennis the Menace.
1956, Passport To Danger
In 1960, Irene made her first appearance on "Bonanza," playing Mrs. Bufford in "The Outcast."
1961 and Irene stars opposite Walter Brennan on "The Real McCoys."
Once again, Irene guest starred on Bonanza in 1962's "Blessed Are They," playing Winifred Mahon.
Throughout the 1960’s, Irene flourished in guest appearances on such iconic series as The Twilight Zone, Perry Mason, The Fugitive, and Peyton Place.
1965 Irene with Frances Bavier, Aunt Bea on The Andy Griffith Show.
1968 Irene as Kerri Pickett in "Bonanza - Different Pines, Same Wind"
1969 as Minnie Mitchell in "Bonanza - Abner Willoughby's Return"
Irene's final appearance on "Bonanza" was in 1972's The Sound of Sadness.
In 1975, Irene guest starred on Little House on The Prairie
In the 1970s, Irene received recognition from her peers with two Emmy Award nominations. The first was for portraying future First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt’s grandmother, Mary Ludlow Hall, in the 1976 TV movie Eleanor and Franklin (Outstanding Single Performance by a Supporting Actress in Comedy or Drama Special).
1977 Empire of The Ants
Over the years, Irene never abandoned the stage, gracing a number of shows in her senior years including "Our Town" on Broadway, plus "Foxfire," "The Hot L. Baltimore" and "Pygmalion."
In 1978, Irene was nominated again for a guest appearance (Outstanding Lead Actress for a Single Appearance in a Drama or Comedy Series) on the short-lived teen drama James at 15.
1979 and Irene is Mrs. Roper's Aunt Martha on "Three’s Company."
1985 on "Magnum, PI"
In her later years, Irene continued her TV work on shows like St. Elsewhere and L.A. Law, but she suffered a stroke in 1989 and was unable to continue working.
Irene Tedrow passed away in 1995 at the age of 87.
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