Biography

James Dunn worked on the stage, in vaudeville and as an extra in silent movies before he was signed by Fox in 1931. His first movie with Fox was 1931's Sob Sister (1931). While at Fox, he appeared with Shirley Temple in her first three features: Baby Take a Bow (1934), Stand Up and Cheer! (1934) and Bright Eyes (1934). Dunn's screen character was usually the boy next door or the nice guy. In 1935 musicals at the new 20th Century-Fox were out and Dunn would move to the "B" list, from which he would never return. In The Payoff (1935) he plays the nice guy newspaper columnist whose wife ruins his career. By the late 1930s he was drinking heavily and become unemployable. He would appear in small roles in films during the early 1940s, but those parts were few. In 1945 he was able to make a comeback and win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945), but his rejuvenated career would not continue. By 1951 he would again be unemployed and bankrupt. Television would later supply some work and he would be a regular on the series It's a Great Life (1954).

Dunn was born 2 November 1901, New York City, New York, USA, and he died 1 September 1967, Santa Monica, California, USA  (following abdominal surgery)

James Dunn worked on the stage, in vaudeville and as an extra in silent movies before he was signed by Fox in 1931. His first movie with Fox was 1931's Sob Sister (1931). While at Fox, he appeared with Shirley Temple in her first three features: Baby Take a Bow (1934), Stand Up and Cheer! (1934) and Bright Eyes (1934). Dunn's screen character was usually the boy next door or the nice guy. In 1935 musicals at the new 20th Century-Fox were out and Dunn would move to the "B" list, from which he would never return. In The Payoff (1935) he plays the nice guy newspaper columnist whose wife ruins his career. By the late 1930s he was drinking heavily and become unemployable. He would appear in small roles in films during the early 1940s, but those parts were few. In 1945 he was able to make a comeback and win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945), but his rejuvenated career would not continue. By 1951 he would again be unemployed and bankrupt. Television would later supply some work and he would be a regular on the series It's a Great Life (1954).

Dunn was born 2 November 1901, New York City, New York, USA, and he died 1 September 1967, Santa Monica, California, USA  (following abdominal surgery)

Personal Info

Known For Acting

Gender Male

Known Credits 70

Birthday 1901-11-02

Day of Death 1967-09-03

Place of Birth New York City, New York, USA

Official Site -

Also Known As

  • James Howard Dunn
  • Jimmy Dunn

Acting TV ShowsMovies

1975 Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? as (archive footage)
1968 Shadow Over Elveron as Luke Travers
1966 The Oscar as TV executive
1965 Branded (1 episode)
1963 Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre (1 episode)
1963 The Great Adventure (2 episodes)
1963 The Fugitive (1 episode)
1963 Vacation Playhouse (1 episode)
1962 Going My Way (1 episode)
1962 The Virginian (1 episode)
1962 Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man as Telegrapher
1961 Ben Casey (2 episodes)
1960 Route 66 (2 episodes)
1960 The Bramble Bush as Stew Schaffer
1959 Rawhide (1 episode)
1958 Naked City (1 episode)
1958 Wanted: Dead or Alive (1 episode)
1955 Matinee Theater (2 episodes)
1954 Climax! (2 episodes)
1954 It's a Great Life (78 episodes) as Earl Morgan
1953 General Electric Theater (1 episode)
1951 Schlitz Playhouse of Stars (3 episodes)
1950 Lux Video Theatre (1 episode)
1950 The Golden Gloves Story as Joe Riley
1950 Robert Montgomery Presents (3 episodes)
1948 Studio One (4 episodes)
1948 Texas, Brooklyn & Heaven as Mike
1947 Killer McCoy as Brian McCoy
1946 That Brennan Girl as Denny Reagan
1945 The Caribbean Mystery as Mr. Smith
1945 A Tree Grows in Brooklyn as Johnny Nolan
1944 Leave It to the Irish as Terry Moran
1944 Take It or Leave It as Himself
1943 Government Girl as Sergeant Joe Blake
1943 The Ghost and the Guest as Webster Frye
1942 The Living Ghost as Nick Trayne
1940 Hold That Woman! as Jimmy Parker
1940 Son of the Navy as Chief Gunners Mate Mike Malone
1939 Mercy Plane as 'Speed' Leslie
1939 Pride of the Navy as Speed Brennan
1938 Shadows Over Shanghai as Johnny McGinty
1937 Living on Love as Gary Martin
1937 Venus Makes Trouble as Buzz Martin
1937 We Have Our Moments as John Wade
1936 Mysterious Crossing as Addison Francis Murphy
1936 Come Closer, Folks as Jim Keene
1936 Hearts in Bondage as Lt. Kenneth Reynolds
1935 Bad Boy as Eddie Nolan
1935 The Daring Young Man as Don McLane
1935 George White's 1935 Scandals as Eddie
1935 The Payoff as Joe McCoy
1934 Bright Eyes as Loop Merritt
1934 365 Nights in Hollywood as James 'Jimmy' Dale
1934 Have a Heart as James 'Jimmie' Flaherty
1934 Baby, Take a Bow as Eddie Ellison
1934 Change of Heart as Mark McGowan
1934 Stand Up and Cheer! as Jimmy Dugan
1934 Hold That Girl as Barney Sullivan
1933 Take a Chance as Duke Stanley
1933 Jimmy and Sally as Jimmy O'Connor
1933 Arizona to Broadway as Smiley Wells
1933 The Girl in 419 as Dr. Daniel French
1933 Hello, Sister! as Jimmy
1933 Sailor's Luck as Jimmy Fenimore Harrigan
1932 Handle with Care as Bill Gordon
1932 Society Girl as Johnny Malone
1932 Dance Team as Jimmy Mulligan
1931 Over the Hill as Johnny Shelby as an Adult
1931 Bad Girl as Eddie Collins
1930 The Song Plugger as Man in Record Shop

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