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!
“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!
Today, Thursday, July 15, 2021, TCM (Turner Classic Movies) is having a Jeanette MacDonald & Nelson Eddy film festival beginning at 6:30 am Eastern time, screening 7 of their 8 films together!
In honor of this event, we released a new 8-book series entitled Poetic Memories. It’s a Limited Edition, only available on this website, wire bound books, 11×8.5″, totaling over 300 pages, printed on glossy paper with unique cover photos for each book and color photos on every page. Click here for more details and to order the book series.
Here for example is a poem by Nelson to Jeanette:
“I shall perhaps want you to lose all prudence for awhile, To give me the wine of the Gods many times. Till I am drunk with its charm and sweetness. That I may remember for all the ages, the fiery passion of you. And never forget the passing of this hour.”
“He is waiting for you, out there on the cool night scented terrace, and you go to his arms aching for his love – this boy you once thought was not worth giving up a career for.” – Nelson Eddy
“Poetic Memories is a compilation of eight scrapbooks lovingly compiled in the 1940s by a fan with an inside connection to Nelson Eddy’s mother, Isabel. The original scrapbooks are reproduced in color. Each page features vintage magazine or greeting card clippings to complement a quote from the writings of Nelson Eddy, Jeanette MacDonald or his mother’s unpublished memoirs. If you have read the biography Sweethearts by Sharon Rich, you may recognize some of the quotes, but many more are revealed here for the first time.
“Most of Nelson’s quotes come from private diaries he wrote for Jeanette, often describing their intimate moments in graphic sexual detail, often in Victorian style. Nelson wrongly expected Jeanette to outlive him as he was seriously injured during WWII and later nearly died of pneumonia. He called his journals “insurance” to keep memories of their passion alive for Jeanette when he was gone. After his marriage to Ann Franklin in 1939, Nelson had kept a room at his mother’s residence and set up a “shrine” to Jeanette MacDonald, his singing partner and off-screen love. Over the years he filled the room with his own artwork: nude drawings, paintings and sculptures of Jeanette. In the mid 1940s, Isabel began writing her memoirs and snooped into her son’s private papers, including Jeanette’s letters to Nelson. Perhaps unwisely, Isabel shared much of this very intimate information with a close friend. Isabel was eventually caught when lengthy pages of Nelson’s writings were copied and leaked to the wrong people. While publicly forced to deny their veracity, Nelson was personally angry and felt betrayed. He moved his collection out of Isabel’s house and distanced himself from her as a confidante. From a historical perspective, even though the poetic memories were never meant for public view, they and hundreds of letters providing insight into these years were miraculously not destroyed.”
These books are scanned from the original scrapbooks, 75+ years old; some were in near-mint condition, others partially crumbled when opened to scan. Below is a sample page from Volume 5, which contains a quote from a Jeanette letter obviously written to Isabel Eddy, as Isabel shared the letter. It’s not clear whether the photo accurately reflects the bracelet Jeanette is referring to but we do have written documentation that, according to Isabel, Nelson gave Jeanette over a million dollars worth of jewelry over the years. Here is Jeanette’s quote:
“I think he feels a great happiness knowing that I will wear this gift of his for all the world to see – and yet not know – that it brings him so close to me that our love will live in every song I sing. ‘They have been wet with my tears,’ he said, “Touch them whenever you need me and I will be there.'”
Today marks the 120th birthday of Nelson Eddy, in his day the highest paid singer in the world and the biggest crossover singer from opera to movie star!
In honor of his birthday, here are four new YouTube videos. In the first interview, we hear Nelson say he loves Jeanette MacDonald and thinks she loves him. Even though it’s said in an offhand way, and he also says he sees Jeanette “all the time,” there’s a definite effort from Jack Paar to get more, even to (jokingly) ask about Jeanette’s legs.
In the second video, Nelson sings a duet with Dinah Shore then a wonderful rock ‘n roll duet of “Shortnin’ Bread” with Frankie Avalon. Even at age 60, Nelson’s voice overpowers both singers.
The third and fourth videos are sadder, from the last weeks of his life. Nelson helps usher in 1967 singing with Gale Sherwood on Guy Lombardo’s live show…
And then the final footage covers his last Australian tour, the first months of 1967. When he returned stateside, not even three weeks later he suffered a fatal stroke onstage while singing.
A curious comment was made by Gale Sherwood, Nelson’s nightclub act singing partner, of an observation just after Nelson’s death in the Miami hospital. She wrote: “As I walked numbly into the sunlight, I looked up and saw two beautiful white doves soaring off into space. Nelson loved doves and as they flew above me, I said, ‘There he goes!’ I’ll never, never see a small white bird and not think of dear Nelson flying away.” Gale said she felt shocked, surprised and wonderful at spotting the doves and just knew it was Nelson’s spirit leaving this world. There’s more of her comments in this magazine but one has to ask – why were there TWO doves flying away together?
In honor of Jeanette MacDonald’s birthday today, below are links to two of her later interviews.
In the first one, she discusses the release of her record album with Nelson Eddy, “Favorites in Hi-Fi.”
In the second YouTube video, Jeanette discusses the frustrations of writing her ill-fated autobiography.
Note that the unfinished typewritten manuscript with Jeanette’s handwritten notes was finally annotated and published in 2004; more on the back story of what happened after this interview can be read here.
At long last, Mac/Eddy Today Issue #77 is available! It includes: a new look at The Girl of the Golden West as it passed its 80th anniversary; an article about the death of Gale Sherwood, Nelson’s nightclub singing partner for 14 years, and her significance in the latter years of the lives of both Nelson and Jeanette; an interview with June Caldwell, the last secretary of director Woody Van Dyke. Caldwell worked for him to the end, helped plan and attended his funeral and so as an eyewitness, sets the record straight on the exact participation made by Nelson and Jeanette; and the rest of Anna MacDonald’s 1931 diary, which gives a very clear picture of how a movie star’s mother (and stage mother) spent her days in Hollywood as her daughter worked. All these articles are filled with rare photos (including some of the last public photos taken of Jeanette) and the magazine is printed on glossy paper with gorgeous centerfold portraits of each star.
Remembering Nelson Eddy today. In 1967 he suffered a massive stroke onstage while performing, 65 years old, and never regained consciousness. This photo of was part of a series shot in 1938, during a period of his life when he was happy in his personal life. By nature he was highly intelligent, funny, artistic in many genres, creative, an amazing singer, and he loved animals and nature. Very few photos capture that energy and joy of life but this one certainly does!
ALMOST GONE! Our beautiful new 11×8.5″ calendar is filled with glossy photos for each month and interesting facts about their lives and careers. Once again, it features a beautiful cover designed by Don Schumann. Thank you, Don!
Remembering Jeanette MacDonald today and her older sister Blossom MacDonald Rock, who passed 13 years to the day as Jeanette, and is shown here in her most famous role as Grandmama in “The Addams Family.”
Today fans around the world can read for free (with Kindle Unlimited) how Blossom helped ensure her sister’s story was told… at this link. We will remember!