America’s Sweethearts Remembered – Nelson Eddy’s Love Song to Jeanette MacDonald

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On Valentine’s Day, we celebrate Hollywood’s greatest romantic team, Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy, and their thirty-year, off-screen love affair. Eddy wrote the love song “My Wonder One” for MacDonald but like their classic film “Maytime,” their personal story had a tragic ending.

Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy were stars of blockbuster MGM musicals like “Naughty Marietta,” “Rose Marie” and “Maytime,” the highest grossing international film of 1937. Supposed enemies off-screen, their off-screen love affair began in 1935 and survived studio interference by boss Louis B. Mayer, marriages to others, infidelities, numerous breakups and their clashing temperaments. When MacDonald died in 1965 from a heart condition, Eddy drowned his sorrow in drink and worked non-stop until just two years later, he collapsed onstage in Miami with a fatal stroke.

Pictures really are worth a thousand words and to the right, we see Nelson’s devotion to Jeanette over the decades in candid photos from 1935, 1941 and 1960.

Eddy was a man of many talents and wrote a song for Jeanette called “My Wonder One.” He first sang it on his radio show in 1946 and shocked his fans. It was evident the lovesick lyrics were not about Eddy’s wife, Ann Franklin, since the trades reported that they were currently trying to negotiate a divorce settlement. For fans who endlessly followed--and occasionally caught--Eddy and MacDonald together in public, this bold song seemed to be Nelson’s way of letting the world know his true feelings:

My wonder one

My shining sun

I feel your thrilling vibration.

Your witching face,

Enchanting grace,

Have cast a spell of elation.

My magic you,

My dream come true

My world’s divinest creation.

My search is done

My prize is won

The wonder is, you’re mine!

I see in your smile

Something mesmerizing.

You have a winning guile

Your touch is magnetizing.

I stand before you in surrender,

How I adore you.

With a tender yearning

I am burning.

        – Nelson Eddy

The photos and poem are excerpted (and copyrighted) in the biography “Sweethearts: The Timeless Love Affair Onscreen and Off between Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy” by Sharon Rich. Click on the following link to read the first chapter:

For more information, to interview the author or to purchase “Sweethearts,” go to

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Sharon Rich
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