Nelson Eddy


Singer
Nelson Eddy

About

Birth Place
Providence, Rhode Island, USA
Born
June 29, 1901
Died
March 06, 1967
Cause of Death
Stroke While Performing Onstage

Biography

Promising opera baritone with a wholesome masculinity and a resounding voice who vaulted to stardom opposite Jeanette MacDonald in a series of enormously popular MGM operettas in the 1930s and early 40s. The duo starred in eight films together, though the first three, "Naughty Marietta" (1935), "Rose Marie" (1936) and "Maytime" (1937), were the team's best. Though his film career is larg...

Photos & Videos

Bitter Sweet - Movie Posters
The Chocolate Soldier - Kapralik Trade Ad

Family & Companions

Ann Franklin
Wife
Married in 1939 until his death; previously wed to director Sidney Franklin with whom she had one son; died on August 28, 1987.
Jeanette MacDonald
Companion
Singer, actor. Reportedly had an on-again, off-again relationship.

Bibliography

"Sweethearts: The Timeless Love Affair On-Screen and Off Between Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy"
Sharon Rich, Donald I. Fine, Inc. (1994)
"Nelson Eddy: A Bio-Discography"
Larry F. Kiner, Scarecrow Press (1992)
"The Complete Films of Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald"
Philip Castanza, Citadel Press (1990)
"The Films of Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy"
Eleanor Knowles

Notes

Eddy was reportedly a descendant of US President Martin Van Buren

Biography

Promising opera baritone with a wholesome masculinity and a resounding voice who vaulted to stardom opposite Jeanette MacDonald in a series of enormously popular MGM operettas in the 1930s and early 40s. The duo starred in eight films together, though the first three, "Naughty Marietta" (1935), "Rose Marie" (1936) and "Maytime" (1937), were the team's best. Though his film career is largely linked with MacDonald's, Eddy did enjoy some success opposite Eleanor Powell in the lavish "Rosalie" (1938) and with Rise Stevens in the witty "The Chocolate Soldier" (1941). He also provided several voices for the disappointing, uneven Disney offering, "Make Mine Music" (1946), delightfully performing the title role of the segment, "The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met." After his film career petered out in the late 40s, Eddy returned to occasional concert work and made nightclub appearances.

Life Events

1915

After parents' divorce, moved with mother to Philadelphia

1922

Won competition to join Philadelphia Civic Opera

1924

Pro debut as opera singer in "Aida" (Philadelphia Civic Opera)

1924

Made New York debut at Met when Philadelphia Civic Opera visited there wtih "Pagliacci"

1928

Gave first concert recital in Philadelphia

1933

First appearance in film as singer in "Broadway to Hollywood" (sang one song)

1935

Film acting debut in "Naughty Marietta" (with Jeanette MacDonald), achieved instant star status

1938

First starring role sans MacDonald, "Rosalie", co-starring Eleanor Powell

1942

Contract dropped by MGM after "I Married an Angel", his last film opposite MacDonald

1943

Played the romantic lead in Universal's remake of the silent classic, "Phantom of the Opera", with Claude Rains in the title role

1946

Provided several voices for the Disney animated feature, "Make Mine Music", most notably for the title character in the delightful episode, "The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met"

1947

Last film, "Northwest Outpost", a modestly budgeted musical operetta made at Republic Studios and featuring his "Balalaika" (1939) co-star, Ilona Massey

Photo Collections

Bitter Sweet - Movie Posters
Here are some original release movie posters from Bitter Sweet (1940), starring Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy.
The Chocolate Soldier - Kapralik Trade Ad
Here is a trade ad for MGM's The Chocolate Soldier (1941), starring Nelson Eddy and Rise Stevens. The art is by mixed-media caricaturist Jaques Kapralik. Trade Ads were placed by studios in industry magazines like Variety and The Hollywood Reporter.

Videos

Movie Clip

Chocolate Soldier, The (1941) - Song Of The Flea Aiming to test her loyalty, Viennese opera star Karl (Nelson Eddy) appears at the club where his wife Maria (Rise Stevens) and best pal Bernard (Nigel Bruce) are in the audience, disguised as a romantic Russian, in MGM’s The Chocolate Soldier, 1941.
Balalaika (1939) - Tanya With grumbling from her brother and father (Dalies Frantz, Lionel Atwill), both musicians and secret anti-Czarist revolutionaries, Hungarian-born Ilona Massey’s first song (an original by Bob Wright and Chet Forrest for MGM) in her first starring role as singer Lydia, in a Petersburg cabaret, in Balalaika, 1939, also starring Nelson Eddy.
Balalaika (1939) - Song Of The Volga Boatmen Posing as a student to gain access to Ilona Massey and her revolutionary friends and family, well-meaning Czarist prince Peter (Nelson Eddy) offers the traditional Russian song, with support from Dalies Frantz (on piano), Lionel Atwill, Abner Biberman et al, in MGM’s Balalaika, 1939.
New Moon (1940) - Stranger In Paris Opening scene on board a packet from Revolution-era France, introducing Jeanette MacDonald as Marianne (Mary Boland her associate), the ship’s captain (George Irving) requesting a song, with new lyrics from Sigmund Romberg’s 1928 operetta, in New Moon, 1940, MacDonald’s MGM reunion with Nelson Eddy.
New Moon (1940) - Stop "Grace-ing" Me! Sailing from Marseilles to Louisiana, 1789, the snobs on the upper decks have been wondering what’s the noise below, and we discover Nelson Eddy as Charles, an incognito radical nobleman, reprising a Sig Romberg song Jeanette MacDonald just introduced, Stanley Fields, Richard Purcell and William Tannen his posse, in New Moon, 1940.
New Moon (1940) - Wanting You Now in New Orleans, Charles (Nelson Eddy) is the revolutionary nobleman posing as a servant to aristocrat Marianne, (Jeanette MacDonald), who agrees with everyone that he’s way too refined to be plausible, the big song from the Sigmund Romberg/Oscar Hammerstein II operetta ensuing, in MGM’s New Moon, 1940.
Sweethearts (1938) - Wooden Shoes After supporting players are introduced in elaborate exposition of the sixth anniversary performance of their Broadway performance, Ray Bolger dances and Jeanette MacDonald sings, Nelson Eddy coming in the next number, in MGM’s Technicolor Sweethearts, 1938, lyrics by Bob Wright and Chet Forrest to the original Victor Herbert tune.
Sweethearts (1938) - Every Lover Must Meet His Fate The second number which introduces Nelson Eddy as Broadway star Ernest Lane, joining Jeanette MacDonald as his wife Gwen Marlowe, in the anniversary performance of their long-running musical hit, new lyrics by Bob Wright and Chet Forrest, to the tune from the Victor Herbert operetta, in Sweethearts, 1938.
Sweethearts (1938) - Pretty As A Picture Frank Morgan is the Broadway producer for musical stars, Ernest Lane and Gwen Marlowe (Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald), now doing a radio show celebrating six years in their hit show, in MGM’s first three-strip Technicolor feature, Sweethearts, 1938.
Girl Of The Golden West, The (1938) - Senorita Lieutenant Johnson (Nelson Eddy), his secret identity not yet revealed, romances Mary (Jeanette MacDonald) with "Senorita" by Sigmund Romberg and Gus Kahn, in The Girl Of The Golden West, 1938.
Naughty Marietta (1935) - Chansonette We’ve just met Jeanette MacDonald as flighty French princess Marie, visiting with her musical mentor Herr Schuman (Joseph Cawthorne), then joining his rowdy students for a song from the original operetta by Victor Herbert and Rida Johnson Young, in her first MGM feature with Nelson Eddy, Naughty Marietta, 1935.
Naughty Marietta (1935) - Tramp, Tramp, Tramp Jeanette MacDonald is princess Marie, posing as one of a group of French would-be mail-order brides, captured by pirates en route to New Orleans, trouble brewing when an ill-defined group of “Yankee Scouts” led by Nelson Eddy appears, his first song in their first feature together, by Victor Herbert and Rida Johnson Young, in Naughty Marietta, 1935.

Trailer

Rose-Marie (1936) - (Original Trailer) An opera singer goes undercover in the Canadian wilderness to hunt for her criminal brother in Rose Marie (1936) starring Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy.
Chocolate Soldier, The - (Original Trailer) A jealous husband tests his opera singer wife's fidelity by pretending to be another man in The Chocolate Soldier (1941) starring Nelson Eddy and Rise Stevens.
I Married An Angel - (Original Trailer) Some husbands say it but Nelson Eddy means it literally in his final pairing with Jeanette MacDonald, I Married An Angel (1942).
Dancing Lady - (Re-issue Trailer) Joan Crawford loves Clark Gable but sings and dances with Fred Astaire in Dancing Lady (1933) with a guest appearance by the Three Stooges.
Maytime - (Original Trailer) It's Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald with only John Barrymore to keep them apart in the MGM musical Maytime (1937)
Naughty Marietta - (Re-issue trailer) A French princess in colonial America gets involved with an Indian scout in the musical, Naughty Marietta (1935).
Bitter Sweet - (Original Trailer) Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald sing a forbidden love in Noel Coward's operetta Bitter Sweet (1940).
Girl Of The Golden West, The - (Original Trailer) Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy star in the movie version of the Sigmund Romberg-Gus Kahn musical The Girl Of The Golden West (1938).
Rosalie - (Original Trailer) A West Point cadet falls in love with a European princess in the musical Rosalie (1937) with songs by Cole Porter.
New Moon - (Original Trailer) Nelson Eddy is looking for some stout-hearted men in the operetta New Moon (1940) co-starring Jeanette MacDonald.
Broadway To Hollywood - (Original Trailer) Three generations of vaudevillians fight for stardom on stage and screen in Broadway to Hollywood (1933) starring Frank Morgan.
Let Freedom Ring - (Original Trailer) A crusader returns to his Western hometown to root out corruption in Let Freedom Ring (1939) starring Nelson Eddy.

Family

Isabel Eddy
Mother
Separated from Eddy's father c. 1915.
William Darius Eddy
Father
Machinist. Separated from Eddy's mother c. 1915.
Virginia Eddy
Half-Sister
Born c. 1926.
Sidney Franklin Jr
Step-Son
Survived him.

Companions

Ann Franklin
Wife
Married in 1939 until his death; previously wed to director Sidney Franklin with whom she had one son; died on August 28, 1987.
Jeanette MacDonald
Companion
Singer, actor. Reportedly had an on-again, off-again relationship.

Bibliography

"Sweethearts: The Timeless Love Affair On-Screen and Off Between Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy"
Sharon Rich, Donald I. Fine, Inc. (1994)
"Nelson Eddy: A Bio-Discography"
Larry F. Kiner, Scarecrow Press (1992)
"The Complete Films of Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald"
Philip Castanza, Citadel Press (1990)
"The Films of Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy"
Eleanor Knowles

Notes

Eddy was reportedly a descendant of US President Martin Van Buren