Jeanette MacDonald: The Irving Stone Letters
edited by Sharon Rich
© 2002 by Sharon Rich. All rights reserved.
Publisher: Bell Harbour Press
Binding: Trade Paper
220 pages Description:
Before she became a movie star, Jeanette MacDonald was a Broadway ingénue. In 1927 she fell in love with Irving Stone, who worked for his uncle’s famous Milwaukee department store, The Boston Store. For two years, Jeanette and Irving kept their long-distance romance alive with frequent long, newsy letters. Irving carefully saved all her correspondence — hundreds of pages of mostly handwritten letters that were found in his home after his death. Even after the affair ended Jeanette kept writing. She discussed her Hollywood career with him, including co-stars such as Nelson Eddy. Her last correspondence to Irving is dated 1938.
The Irving Stone letters are a revelation. Once and for all they disprove the fiction that Jeanette MacDonald was a prude. She frankly discusses topics like sex, industry gossip, her views on homosexuals, and marriage to someone she’s not certain she loves. In 1927 she worries about pregnancy and setting up trysts behind her mother’s back; the following year she carefully juggles simultaneous affairs with two men. She discusses various health problems including her earliest documented heart attack in 1929 at age 26.
These letters are transcribed uncensored in their entirety, with many of the originals reproduced. They give insight into the fiercely determined young singer who went on to become a 1930s Hollywood icon.
Sharon Rich has annotated the letters, adding rare photos, commentary and historical background.
“Loved it! A great collection of hand-written letters by MGM’s musical songbird, before she was a star. Lively, entertaining, and she sure wasn’t a boring prude like some others have made her out to be. Ms. Rich wisely keeps the annotations to a minimum, since Naughty Marietta tells it like it was in her own words. I particularly enjoyed MacDonald’s Broadway and Hollywood gossip from the good old days! Lots of good dish.”
“I am a huge fan of Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy, and I’m sure Jeanette MacDonald would not have wanted this book published, since it shows her in several love affairs with married and unmarried men. This book is great in that she is just writing with no pretenses to her lover/ex-lover/then friend her Big Irving. Jeanette’s life was fascinating and yet tragic and lonely at the end without a certain baritone….I highly recommend this book, it is always wonderful to read the truth for a change. Let Jeanette and Nelson’s beautiful voices live on through their wonderfully nostalgic movies & CDs!! There will never be anyone like them again!”