The just-released March, 2012 Hollywood issue of Vanity Fair magazine features a section on diets of Hollywood stars from the 1920s until today.
Jeanette MacDonald is mentioned as using a “Ginger Ale and Ice Cream Diet.”
You will recall that in the late 1920s, Jeanette was underweight and visited a New Jersey live-in treatment center where she did nothing but drink tons of milk to GAIN weight.
Herbert Stothart, Jr., son of the MGM’s musical director during Jeanette’s studio years, said that whenever Jeanette came over to their house for a meal, “She ate like a bird.”
Nelson Eddy was promptly put on a diet when he arrived at MGM by none other than the studio mogul, Louis B. Mayer. When at the studio, Nelson’s diet consisted of coffee and Mayer’s mother’s chicken soup. That’s right, any time Nelson dined at the studio commissary he was presented with a bowl of soup. That was the entirety of his “diet.”
Other sources told me in passing that during the 1930s, more sinister diet secrets of the stars could include pills (such as was prescribed to teenaged Judy Garland), swallowed tapeworms and even heroin.
Jeanette’s “Ginger Ale and Ice Cream Diet” seems much more delightful than any of the above!
Thanks, Vanity Fair, for mentioning her!.