New York, NY (PRWEB) August 7, 2006
New York City, NY (PRWEB) August 7, 2006. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. In this case, several candid photos of Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald reveal the intimacy of their relationship, refuting press reports that claimed they hated each other off-screen. Add to this a heartbreaking interview given by Nelson Eddy the day Jeanette MacDonald died, when he breaks down and can no longer keep up the nonchalant façade of being merely a professional co-star.
Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy were America’s Singing Sweethearts of the 1930s. They made a series of classic MGM musicals, blockbusters like Naughty Marietta (1935), Rose Marie (1936) and Maytime (1937), the highest-grossing film internationally that year. Fans correctly sensed that the on-screen romantic chemistry was more than just acting. But both stars married other people, causing outrage among moviegoers and resulting in thousands of angry letters written to the studio in protest.
Both stars were continually harassed by paparazzi and over-eager fans. Even after they left MGM in 1942 and purportedly went their separate ways, Jeanette was an infrequent guest on Nelson’s radio show. Certain fans in the studio audiences circulated written reports about the goings on, including the fact that Nelson tried to kiss Jeanette onstage, or secretly stole a passionate kiss in the parking lot supposedly away from prying eyes. Other fans followed Nelson’s car on almost a daily basis, finally catching him with Jeanette. Gossip mavens Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons hinted at the relationship in their columns. On several occasions Nelson smashed paparazzi cameras when their privacy was invaded. Rumors were rampant that there was a secret affair but since the stars never divorced their spouses, the public was at a loss to understand the true situation.
The story was finally fully documented in Sharon Rich’s controversial biography of the team, “Sweethearts: The Timeless Love Story On-Screen and Off Between Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy.” Rich was friends with Jeanette’s older sister, actress Blossom Rock, who spoke candidly about Jeanette’s affair with Nelson. Rich also interviewed over two hundred people and had access to diary entries, love letters and unpublished memoirs. In “Sweethearts” she reveals the tragic circumstances of their love affair.
Despite the snide comments of some movie critics who praised Eddy’s singing voice but found his acting “wooden,” in real life Nelson Eddy was a highly passionate man. A letter written by him in December 1942 discusses the painful fact that his continuing relationship with MacDonald is technically adultery: “Perhaps some day we will see and understand why we had to go through years of cruel agony—and in the end obey the law of God while we break the law of man. But I know that we break no law. Jeanette has never been a wife and I have never had one—we owe no affection or vows to anyone. But we do owe them to each other, we took them long ago and have never broken them.” In June 1947, when they’d been together almost thirteen years, Nelson wrote in his diary: “My darling — how shall I explain the pure and holy spirit that possesses me when I hold your body — more precious than any priceless jewel? There is only one way to explain this rapture, this ecstasy, this joyous mystery that surrounds our physical love. We are mates and this love will live forever in the misty ages from whence it came. This is why it is oh-so-deeply spiritual and why only you and I can give to each other this love -— this religion.”
It is no wonder that when interviewed on the day of Jeanette’s death in January 1965, Nelson sounds bitter as the interviewer presses him to make “a statement” and he can’t find the words to say how he feels — for “public consumption.”
To watch the video go to http://www.maceddy.com/index.php?main_page=news&pages_id=38.
Chapter One of “Sweethearts” is also available online to read here: http://www.maceddy.com/index.php?main_page=sweethearts_excerpts
About Sharon Rich
Sharon Rich has authored several books and many articles about the beloved screen team. She was a featured speaker at the American Film Institute (East Coast) and was awarded a Dame of Merit by the Knights of Malta. For a review copy of “Sweethearts” or an interview, email Sharon.