From the last will and testament of Nelson Eddy: “I believe the body is useless after death… let there be no sorrow over the remains, for at that time I believe the soul will have found its destined way to the infinite.” (June 29, 1901 – March 6, 1967.)
Today we remember Jeanette MacDonald, who died on January 14, 1965 at age 61.
We also remember her sister Blossom Rock, who died the very same date, at age 82, in 1978.
Two sisters who were close in life… and after Jeanette’s early passing, Blossom bravely determined that the sacrifices her sister made at the expense of her great love for Nelson Eddy should not be forgotten in history.
We are thankful that Blossom was persistent in wanting Jeanette’s real life to be known and understood, and that Jeanette be remembered in Hollywood history as a great movie star and singer and icon of her era.
Below, Blossom and Jeanette. Blossom was a character actress best known for her portrayal of “grandmama” in the 1960s TV series “The Addams Family.”
Bumping this post up for the holiday season. As we listen to endless replays of Bing Crosby in the malls, retirement homes, offices and radio, etc., one can only wish that Nelson Eddy’s Christmas album had received the love it deserved. Or that he (if not Jeanette MacDonald) had lived long enough to be publicly cherished in the 1970s and ’80s as nostalgic national treasures, as was the case with so many of the 1930s stars. But it was not to be, and both Nelson’s and Jeanette’s lives and remembrances remained shrouded with secrecy – and lies – which their legal spouses dragged out long after their deaths.
But we can celebrate Nelson and Jeanette this Christmas week with the love and hope and holiday spirit they brought to others while alive .. and still bring to new generations today.
And finally….here is a video of Nelson singing “Silent Night” in German…as his Russian character in Balalaika sings to Austrian soldiers during a World War I truce…an event that really happened in history! Let us hope that we can learn from history and create peace in the coming year!
Thanks to Angela Messino for the graphic above based on a screenshot by Lynda Tucker.
Here it is… with a beautiful cover by Don Schumann.
Each month features a different fabulous, glossy photo annotated with dozens of NEWLY UPDATED, interesting, informative and fun dates, facts and events in the lives of Jeanette and Nelson.
These make great gifts for yourself or any Mac/Eddy fan! If needed, we can drop-ship a gift calendar for you and if you request, this month we will include a holiday card for a drop-shipped order as well; just write what the text should say in the “order notes.”
Above we see a shot from “New Moon” with Nelson Eddy … and Buster Keaton to the right of him.
Buster Keaton was a WWI veteran. Today we celebrate Armistice Day 2018 … the 100 year anniversary. Through all my years of research I was lucky enough to meet and interview several Hollywood folks from the silent years and onwards who participated in WW1. For example, if you’re an old movie buff you’d probably recognize character actor Ian Wolfe (pictured below) who appeared in many great films (including “Maytime” and “The Firefly”). Wolfe was a WW1 vet and a client of my father’s.
I also met Buster Keaton (he was mostly cut out of “New Moon”), who lost much of his hearing during WW1 while fighting in France. Remembering that great generation today… thank you .
We already know the WW2 contributions made by Nelson and Jeanette. Let’s honor all these folks today:
The photo above is a closeup from Ned Wayburn’s “Demi Tasse Revue” which opened at the Capitol Theatre on October 24, 1919. Take a close look at the girl in the center of the photo…yes, she resembles Jeanette MacDonald but those dimples give her away. It’s Jeanette’s older sister Blossom, who spoke up to Wayburn and got Jeanette her first job in the same show. Below is the full lineup of dancing girls.
And a closeup from the program, showing her billing as Blossom McDonald, still using the original correct Irish spelling of their last name.
In this important show, George Gershwin introduced his song “Swanee” while another actress had her own scandalous featured song. Recognize her?
It’s Mae West! But most important to readers here is Blossom’s younger sister, all of 16 when she landed her first small part. Already her beauty stands out above the others. Below, a signed portrait of Jeanette from 1920; note she’s still spelling her name “Jeannette.” But don’t be fooled by her waif-life beauty, the set of her chin and those determined eyes reflect a young girl ready for stardom.
Celebrating the 117th birthday of Nelson Eddy, the most famous baritone of the 20th century. He was the first “crossover” opera singer to become a major movie star and virtual rock star of his day.
Above, Nelson’s 37th birthday on the set of “Sweethearts” (1938) with his pregnant co-star/girlfriend/future secret wife Jeanette MacDonald. Posing here with a dog and her new puppies was no random coincidence as they were expectant parents at this point in time.
In 1933 when he first went to Hollywood, Nelson at first planned to make a couple of films and then return to the opera and concert life. Then his world changed completely when he met Jeanette MacDonald and their lives spun off into a totally different direction. Later he would write a song based on his love for her, shocking fans by singing such passionate lyrics on his radio show: My Wonder One.
Happy birthday, Jeanette MacDonald! Born 115 years ago… a great singer and movie star. Despite more than her share of life’s challenges, she always wore a smile in public and encouraged others. Below…what better birthday to display here today than 1938 – perhaps her happiest, with a certain baritone kissing her (in public) and sucking on her lower lip as we’ve seen so often. A happy secret shared between them…and perhaps the anticipation that the fortune teller’s prediction would come true later that year…having a special child that would do great things in the world…
Re-visiting the best seller list, one day after the TCM Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy film marathon! Right now the Kindle edition of Sweethearts is #88 in “Actors and Entertainers.” Thank you all who purchased it!