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5 Great Irenes

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It’s not a good time for the name Irene, is it? While we live in hope that Hurricane Irene deals only a glancing blow to the East Coast, it certainly seems as if we’ll all be cursing the name Irene before long. As we wait, let’s try to remember a handful of great Irenes.


We start with a fictional Irene from the world of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. In the years since the original stories, Irene Adler has more often than not been seen as a love interest or playful adversary of Holmes. Here’s Rachel McAdams as Adler from the 2009 “Sherlock Holmes.”


Ryan, a veteran of vaudeville and radio, became a TV icon in the 1960s as Granny on “The Beverly Hillbillies.”


Did you know that Cara, of the 1980 version of “Fame,” is both a Grammy and an Oscar winner? Yep. The Oscar is for music from the movie “Flashdance.”


Dunne was not an Oscar winner, and it’s a shame. She was nominated five times.


Let’s finish with a classic folk tune, known also as “Irene Goodnight.” It was written and first recorded by Huddie Ledbetter in the early 1930s. Since then, it’s been covered by everyone from The Weavers and Frank Sinatra to Johnny Cash and Deer Tick.

Be kind, Irene. Be kind.