Jeanette MacDonald Poster


Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (2) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (23) | Personal Quotes (4) | Salary (1)

Overview (5)

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Died in Houston, Texas, USA  (heart attack)
Birth NameJeannette Anna McDonald
Nicknames Jenni, JAM
The Iron Butterfly
Height 5' 4" (1.63 m)

Mini Bio (2)

She was the third daughter of Daniel and Anne MacDonald, younger sister to Blossom (MGM's character actress Marie Blake), whom she followed to New York and a chorus job in 1920. She was busy in a string of musical productions. In 1928 Paramount tested and rejected her, but a year later Ernst Lubitsch saw her test and picked her to play opposite Maurice Chevalier in The Love Parade (1929). Musicals went into decline and Paramount dropped her in 1931; her next pictures with Chevalier went nowhere. She went to Europe where she met Irving Thalberg and his wife Norma Shearer (whom she loaned both her hairdresser and chauffeur). She got the lead in Thalberg's property The Merry Widow (1934), and her next MGM vehicle, Naughty Marietta (1935) brought her together with Nelson Eddy. For her next project she insisted Clark Gable should co-star. He at first refused - "I just sit there while she sings. None of that stuff for me." - the movie, of course, was San Francisco (1936). During World War II she often did USO shows. She hoped to enter grand opera; she did take lessons and gave concert recitals. Her last public appearance, singing "Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life", was at the funeral of Louis B. Mayer. She suffered heart ailments and, after an arterial transplant in 1963, died of a heart attack in Houston in 1965. Hysterical crowds listened to recordings of "Ah, Sweet Mystery" at her Forest Lawn funeral.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Jeanette MacDonald began her career at age 6, where she had small roles in theaters and operas. By age 13, she was winning singing contests along the eastern United States. Jeanette was a very talented operatic singer/lyrical soprano, with a wide vocal range, E above high C, close to 3 octaves. Her talent soon was spotted by Ernst Lubitsch, and she signed with Paramount early in 1929 to star in the Lubitsch-Chevalier film, The Love Parade (1929). She was 25 years old. After making several films at Paramount, Fox and UA, Irving Thalberg convinced her to come to MGM in 1933. Jeanette soon became known as The Iron Butterfly, for she was one of the most lady-like and beautiful women on the MGM lot, but when it came to her contracts, she was tough and could strike a deal quickly that suited her. Jeanette was a striking red-head, with big blue eyes and this made her an interest to many men at the studio. In 1935, MacDonald was paired with, Nelson Eddy in Naughty Marietta (1935). They were a smash-hit. The pair made eight pictures together, from then on forever known as America's Singing Sweethearts. On June 17, 1937, Jeanette married actor Gene Raymond, in a spectacular Hollywood fashion - it was the best attended wedding of the decade. The marriage lasted 28 years till her death in 1965. After making Cairo 'City of Contrast' (1938), Jeanette left MGM to pursue other interests. In 1943, she made her operatic debut in Montreal, Canada. In 1944, she began working in theatre and on stage, starring in such musicals as The King and I, and gave numerous sold out concerts. In 1948, MacDonald returned to MGM to make her last two films, Three Daring Daughters (1948), with 'Jane Powell' and The Sun Comes Up (1949). The 1950's were spent mainly resting due to her weakening heart although she and Nelson Eddy teamed on television. Their renewed popularity led to a 1958 record album with Nelson Eddy singing their favorite songs. The album went gold. Now more than 30 years after her death, MacDonald still has a large and loyal fan following.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Donovan Webber

Spouse (1)

Gene Raymond (16 June 1937 - 14 January 1965) (her death)

Trivia (23)

Originally wanted to marry Gene Raymond on the 17th as it was the anniversary of their first date, but the church was unavailable and so they opted for the 16th.
Younger sister of actress Marie Blake.
Born at 6:58am-EST.
Made one movie with husband Gene Raymond - Smilin' Through (1941).
Favorite film was Maytime (1937).
Still has a large fan club, The Jeanette MacDonald International Fan Club.
5/30/53: She was given a honorary degree, Doctor of Music from Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY.
1939: She was crowned Queen of the Movies by 22 million filmgoers in a New York Daily News survey.
1937: Screen Actors Guild awarded Jeanette the Best Performance Award, for Maytime (1937).
4/12/34: She was immortalized in cement at Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood.
In many of Judy Garland's concerts, she featured "San Francisco," a song that MacDonald sang in San Francisco (1936) with Clark Gable. When Garland sang it, she sometimes added to the beginning, "I never will forget Jeanette MacDonald. Just to think of her, it gives my heart a pang. I never will forget just how that brave Jeanette just stood there, in the ruins, and sang. And sang." And then Judy would sing it. Jeanette was approached about it, and she said, "Oh, I don't mind... As long as it's Judy!".
Interred at Forest Lawn, Glendale, California, USA, in the Freedom Mausoleum, Sanctuary of Heritage.
Her duets with Nelson Eddy are lampooned in the musical "A Day In Hollywood/A Night In The Ukraine." In the show, a movie star named Jeanette sings the song, "Oh, Nelson, What You're Putting Me Through" -- an operatic lament about her boring co-star -- while standing with a mannequin dressed in a Canadian Mounties uniform.
1941: Her salary was $300,000.
In May 1943 she made her Grand Opera Debut at His Majesty's Theater in Montreal, Canada singing the role of Juliet in "Romeo and Juliet.".
In 1939 Jeanette was crowned "Queen of Hollywood" by a nationwide poll while the reigning King that year was Tyrone Power.
Her wedding gown was designed by costume designer Adrian. It was a gown of flesh-pink organza over matching taffeta with leg-of-mutton sleeves and a high-neck collar trimmed with lace and a tiny spray of roses. As she walked down the candlelit aisle alone, she carried a single rose and a pink satin prayer book.
Always considered her older sister, Marie Blake, to be the more talented of the two, and was happy for her when she finally attained some measure of recognition, late in life, as Grandmama Addams (under her married name, Blossom Rock) on the popular The Addams Family (1964) TV show. According to biographer Sharon Rich, Ms. MacDonald never missed watching the show each week for that reason.
She was awarded 2 Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Motion Pictures at 6157 Hollywood Boulevard and for Recording at 1628 Vine Street in Hollywood, California.
Sister-in-law of Clarence Rock.
She was a staunch Republican and conservative.
Was in four Oscar Best Picture nominees: The Love Parade (1929), One Hour with You (1932), Naughty Marietta (1935) and San Francisco (1936).
She was tested by Paramount for the leading lady role in the 1929 feature "Nothing But the Truth" but not used.

Personal Quotes (4)

I've been told I have an Irish temper, I know I have Scottish thrift, and, like the English, I love a good show.
[1943] I can't believe how blessed I am! I'm married to the most wonderful man, Gene Raymond, whom I'm deeply in love with, and, my career is right where I want it to be. I can live like this forever!
[when asked by friend Samuel Griffin in the 1950s why she married Gene Raymond instead of Nelson Eddy] I must have had rocks in my head.
[on being introduced to Nelson Eddy] He was a big, awkward hunk of a man, very shy. He made me feel uncomfortable because all he did was look at me.

Salary (1)

The Cat and the Fiddle (1934) $4,000 /week

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