Join us for a Jeanette and Nelson event in Birmingham, Alabama! Date: Wednesday, September 28, 2022.
Both of them sang in Birmingham and there are some interesting connections to learn about! Includes light refreshments, discussion, Q&A, book signing, rare interview and video clips shown.
Details and RSVP at the link!
Nelson Eddy died 55 years ago today. Let’s take a moment to reflect and his life and work.
He began his professional career at age 20 as an opera singer.
Hollywood beckoned and because he fell in love with his co-star to be in eight films, Jeanette MacDonald, Nelson ended his opera career.
In Hollywood, he won numerous awards and became a star on radio…
… and in concerts and records, which made him the highest paid singer at that time.
But the biggest challenge in his life was not his career but the fact that he loved Jeanette…
… but was forced to marry Ann Franklin or risk scandal and blacklisting.
The Jeanette MacDonald Nelson Eddy romance was fraught with heartache, lost babies and emotional ups and downs. Nelson found solace in his music, his art and in nature. Still, he wore the tragedy on his face…
… and was only 65 when he collapsed onstage with a stroke, just two years after Jeanette’s death.
Below, from “New Moon”(1940). Today we celebrate Nelson’s life and artistry with a few glimpses precious moments on-film with Jeanette MacDonald. We will remember…
On November 1, 1963, Jeanette MacDonald signed her last will (though she added a short codicil in June 1964) and headed to Houston Methodist Hospital for a months-long stay. Look carefully at her name on the above hospital paperwork as part of her medical records: Mrs. JEANETTE RANDALL.
The address provided was an office one.
While more complete hospital paperwork attached to this was sold at the auction of Jeanette MacDonald’s papers in recent years, very early on in the 1970s, I learned that among the aliases that Nelson and Jeanette used together was the last name RANDALL. Yes, Nelson once jokingly made a hotel reservation for Jeanette (to meet him while he was on tour) under the comical name of Lucie Glutzenheimer, an example of his sense of humor.
But in general, they used more nondescript names. I was told Nelson didn’t use his real first name because it was too obvious. Yet I was told that they had financial matters together under the last name of RANDALL, including bank accounts. The folks I interviewed back then were not sure of what first name Nelson used with RANDALL but they said it was likely one of three family names that he often used as aliases: ACKERMAN, KENDRICK or ISAAC.
Years later I found among Nelson’s papers the script he wrote about the life of Feodor Chaliapin, in which he planned to star as the great basso. The screenwriter was named as “ISAAC ACKERMAN.” (And these sources didn’t know the existence of that script, by the way.)
More years passed, this hospital record using JEANETTE RANDALL finally surfaced and it was confirmed to me that Nelson used the name ACKERMAN RANDALL. So here is visual proof that the Randall surname existed in their world…
Below, Jeanette’s signed and dated will page, the very day that she flew to Houston. Soon after this, Nelson had to cancel his Australian tour for “health reasons”, hop on a plane and rush back to the US, where he was subsequently spotted in the Houston hospital visiting Jeanette. One wonders why, if Nelson was having throat problems as told to the press, a local Australian doctor could not have treated him. Instead, Nelson rescheduled the tour for 1964.
An amazing find! More than a year before their marriages (and joint honeymoon) in 1937, Jeanette MacDonald appeared as a guest on Mary Pickford’s radio show. They remained friends through the years; Mary and Buddy Rogers are pictured below at Jeanette’s funeral.
Listen to the broadcast here:
Thanks to Angie Schneider for posting an informative article about the show on her blog as well as the YouTube video.
Today marks the anniversary of the passing of Jeanette MacDonald and her sister Blossom Rock. Blossom died 13 years to the day after Jeanette, having watched her sister’s success fade somewhat in the industry and in the younger generations who knew of Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart, Judy Garland, Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis and a handful of others still “hip” in Hollywood’s memory.
We now know the off-screen reality of the lives of both Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy were so very different than the public ever knew (although many suspected). Thank you, Blossom, for speaking up, not wanting her sister “to be forgotten”.
Nelson Eddy’s reaction to Jeanette’s death:
An interview with Blossom some months after Jeanette’s death:
Jeanette and Nelson’s last TV appearance together:
We’ve uploaded several other youtube videos of Jeanette and Nelson in recent months with more to come, so please subscribe to our channel to keep updated!
We continue to remember… with love.
“I didn’t like Jeanette MacDonald, I WAS Jeanette MacDonald. She was my idol of all… and Nelson Eddy. They were as important in my world almost as my mother and dad.”
This quote is from beloved comedienne Betty White who passed away today, New Year’s Eve, just 17 days short of her 100th birthday. A devout Jeanette MacDonald fan, below is another quote from the 2018 TV interview: “Betty White: First Lady of Television.”
“With all performers, somebody comes along and makes them want to be a performer. In Betty’s own life, Jeanette MacDonald was everything to Betty. Betty actually began doing a test for television in 1939. She wore her dress from graduation in high school and Betty sang a Jeanette MacDonald song.”
She wasn’t shy about mentioning her admiration for them in interviews over the years. When our group first formed in late 1977, she was one of our first celebrity members and her letter to us was quoted in our magazine #2!
She wrote: “Was delighted to hear that you are working on behalf of all admirers of Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy. They were so important to me as I was growing up, and I am sure I wouldn’t have become interested in becoming a performer had I not been such a devout fan of theirs. Years later, I had the privilege of meeting them both on several occasions, and got to know Miss MacDonald quite well. They were both as fine in person as I had always thought them to be.”
She brought a lot of laughter over the years to each new generation! R.I.P. Betty White.
Our new 2022 calendar is now available at this link! The beautiful, glossy 11 x 8.5″ calendar includes new glossy photos not used before inside the calendar, as well as dozens of interesting, informative and fun dates, facts and events in the lives of Jeanette and Nelson! Once again, Don Schumann has designed a wonderful cover!