Franklin began her stage career at the age of six months when she was carried on stage in Hearts of Oak. She appeared on Broadway at age six in The Prodigal Father, which ran for five years. She toured Australia in a vaudeville team and later toured the world before going into films.
Her first screen appearance was in Irene Franklin, the American Comedienne (1929) in which she performed a bit of her vaudeville routine. She remembered meticulously planning her performance down to how clearly she said certain words so the punchlines would resonate. "The quiet hurt my ears, the heat was frightful. I swallowed. Heavens, I had an Easter egg in my throat... then a tiny sound, the husky little grind of the recording machine... good Lord, my throat began to tickle. I must clear it or I would cough. It was getting worse. At the end of the chorus there was a second's pause. I managed to clear my throat. I could hear the faintly smothered cough. Had anyone else noticed it? Our little army marched back to the room to hear the playback. It was a bit clearer, the muddled words were a bit over-stressed, the boys were laughing; I could feel my head swelling. Suddenly a bloodhound barked from the machine. The crowd roared. I turned to [director] Roth, bewildered. 'That was your little smothered cough,' he said. 'Without it this would have been a perfect record. We'll do it again, and try not to cough.'"
- Fast Workers (1933)
- The Women in His Life (1933)
- The Cat and the Fiddle (1934)
- Registered Nurse (1934)
- Finishing School (1934)
- Strictly Dynamite (1934)
- Lazy River (1934)
- Down to Their Last Yacht (1934)
- The Affair of Susan (1935)
- Death Flies East (1935)
- Ladies Crave Excitement (1935)
- Timothy's Quest (1936)
- The Garden of Allah (1936)
- Wanted! Jane Turner (1936)
- Blazing Barriers (1937)
- Flirting with Fate (1938)
- Fixer Dugan (1939)
- Eyman, Scott. The Speed of Sound: Hollywood and the Talkie Revolution 1926-1930. Simon and Schuster, New York: 1997.
- "Irene Franklins' Husband, "Burt Green", Dies In Night". The Youngstown Daily Vindicator. November 18, 1922. p. 8. Retrieved May 22, 2011.
- "Actress Irene Franklin Dies In Theatrical Home". The Miami News. June 16, 1941. p. 3B. Retrieved May 22, 2011.
- Film Star Who's Who on the Screen 1938
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Irene Franklin.|
- Irene Franklin on IMDb
- Irene Franklin at the Internet Broadway Database
- Irene Franklin portraits (New York City Public Library, Billy Rose collection)
- Portrait gallery (University of Washington, Sayre collection)