Born February 11, 1908, Philip Ives Dunne was the son of syndicated columnist and humorist Finley Peter Dunne and champion golfer Margaret Ives Abbott Dunne who had been the first ever female gold medalist at the 1900 Olympics when golf was an Olympic sport. Her mother was novelist Mary Ives Abbott.
Both Dunne and his older brother, Finley Peter Dunne, Jr. followed the family tradition and became writers. Both went to Hollywood, but Philip was by far the more successful. His first credited screenplay was 1934’s The Count of Monte Cristo. Other early works included 1935’s Magnificent Obsession and 1936’s The Last of the Mohicans after which he went to work for 20th Century-Fox where he remained for the next 35 years.
Having been one of the co-founders of the Screen Writers Guild, he served as Vice President of its successor, the Writers Guild of America from 1938 to1940. His films during this period included Suez, Stanley and Livingstone and The Rains Came. In 1939 he married actress Amanda Duff with whom he had three children and would remain married to for the rest of his life.
Oscar nominated for his screenplay for the 1941 Oscar winner, How Green Was My Valley, Dunne served on the Academy’s Board of Director from 1946-1948 after four years of war service. In 1947 he co-founded the Committee for the First Amendment (HUAC) with John Huston and William Wyler in protest against the House Un-American Activities Committee. Although he worked with many actors, writers and directors who would be called before HUAC, including Dalton Trumbo on whose behalf he testified, he himself was never accused of being a Communist.