Biography of Famous Popular Singers Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy
About the famous duo of popular singers from the 1930s Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy, history and biography.
Nelson Eddy (1901-1967); Jeanette MacDonald (1907-1965). Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald movies were box-office dynamite in the 1930s. Quaintly nostalgic today, at the height of their popularity Eddy and MacDonald were America's singing sweethearts.
Nelson Eddy was the baritone idol of the 1930s. He was born in Providence, R.I., sang in church choirs, worked as a switchboard operator, shipping clerk, and newspaper obituary writer. He was 23 when he started singing with the Philadelphia Civic Opera Company. He appeared in concerts and on radio until MGM signed him to a contract in 1931.
Jeanette MacDonald was born in Philadelphia in 1907, and appeared in such Broadway shows as Magic Ring, Gershwin's Tip Toes in 1925, Bubbling Over in 1926, and Angela in 1928. She was signed by Ernst Lubitsch and Paramount to costar in The Love Parade with Maurice Chevalier in 1929. In 1935, MGM signed her to costar in films with Eddy. Their 1st was Naughty Marietta, followed by Rose Marie, The Merry Widow, Maytime, The Girl of the Golden West, Sweethearts, New Moon, Bittersweet, and I Married An Angel. Her other credits included The Vagabond King and Monte Carlo.
The 2 were considered a perfect team. She did venture outside their typecasting to costar with Clark Gable in San Francisco.
When MGM dropped Miss MacDonald's contract option in 1942, Eddy left the studio too. His subsequent credits included The Phantom of the Opera, Knickerbocker Holiday, and the voice of Willie the Whale in Walt Disney's Make Mine Music. His last film was North West Frontier with Raymond Massey.
At the height of his popularity, he was not known for his modesty. He was outspoken at all times. One notable quote which did little to endear him to his contemporaries: "I hate actresses. I have to change my phone number weekly to avoid Hollywood parties."
Sadly, in later years, he wasn't in Hollywood to refuse the parties. He was playing supper clubs with Gale Sherwood when, in 1967, he sustained a massive cerebral hemorrhage and died in Miami, Fla. He was survived by his wife Ann.
Miss MacDonald did return to MGM in 1948 to appear in The Birds and the Bees and The Sun Comes Up. After 1949, she went into semiretirement. In 1965--accompanied by her actor-husband Gene Raymond, whom she had married in 1937--Miss MacDonald went to Houston to undergo open-heart surgery performed by Dr. Michael DeBakey. Earlier that year, he had successfully performed the same operation on the Duke of Windsor. Unfortunately, Miss MacDonald suffered a fatal coronary prior to surgery, at the age of 57.
It is unfortunate that Eddy and MacDonald were so easily and so widely imitated. Their appearance in some old film clips included in MGM's tribute to nostalgia, That's Entertainment--released in 1974--automatically elicited some super-critical analysis. Eddy-MacDonald buffs could not care less.
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