Nelson Eddy Poster


Jump to: Overview (5)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (1)  | Trivia (24)  | Personal Quotes (8)

Overview (5)

Born in Providence, Rhode Island, USA
Died in Miami Beach, Florida, USA  (stroke)
Birth NameNelson Ackerman Eddy
Nicknames Nels
The Baritone
The Singing Capon
Height 6' (1.83 m)

Mini Bio (1)

The only career Nelson Eddy ever considered was singing. His parents, Isabel (Kendrick) and William Darius Eddy, were singers, his grandparents were musicians. Unable to afford a teacher, he learned by imitating opera recordings. At age 14 he worked as a telephone operator in a Philadelphia iron foundry. He sold newspaper advertising and performed in amateur musicals. Dr. Edouard Lippe coached him and loaned him the money to study in Dresden and Paris. He gave his first concert recital in 1928 in Philadelphia. In 1933 he did 18 encores for an audience that included an assistant to MGM studio chief Louis B. Mayer, who signed him to a seven-year contract. After MGM acting lessons and initial trials, his first real success came as the Yankee scout to Jeanette MacDonald's French princess in Naughty Marietta (1935), a huge box-office success made on a small budget. Eddy and MacDonald were paired twice more (Rose-Marie (1936), Maytime (1937)) when metropolitan Opera star Grace Moore was unavailable; they became an institution. Their last work together was in 1942. Critics nearly always panned his acting. He did have a large radio following (his theme song: "Short'nin Bread"). In 1959 Eddy and MacDonald issued a recording of their movie hits which sold well. In 1953 he had a fairly successful nightclub routine with Gale Sherwood which ran until his death in 1967. He and his wife Anne Denitz had no children.

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

Family (1)

Spouse Ann Denitz Franklin (19 January 1939 - 6 March 1967)  (his death)

Trivia (24)

Suffered a fatal stroke while performing in concert.
Hosted his own weekly radio show in the 1950s
Interred at Hollywood Memorial Cemetery (now called Hollywood Forever), Hollywood, CA, Section B, across the street from the Cathedral Mausoluem and a bit to the right.
Distantly related to U.S. President Martin Van Buren.
He had one child, Jon, with ex-girlfriend Maybelle Marston, born sometime in the early 1930s.
He had a stepson, Sidney Franklin Jr..
Was a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, a national music fraternity.
He was an accomplished sculptor, and often crafted bronze statues of his co-stars and directors. The statue he made of Susanna Foster was used in her film Phantom of the Opera (1943).
There is a street in Hollywood Forever cemetery now named for him.
Was portrayed by Mick Hucknall in De-Lovely (2004). In the movie, his portrayal was a cameo.
His duets with Jeanette MacDonald 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.
He was awarded three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Motion Pictures at 6311 Hollywood Blvd., for Radio at 6512 Hollywood Blvd. and for Recording at 1639 Vine St. in Hollywood, CA.
MGM chief Louis B. Mayer ordered Eddy to test for his debut in Broadway to Hollywood (1933). The 33-year-old newcomer took a record 58 takes before the exasperated test director gave up. Despite this failure, Mayer overruled the general consensus about Eddy's acting talent--non-existent--and ordered him used for a singing sequence in the film only.
Plans to re-team Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald were announced by RKO in July 1945. Studio chief Charles Koerner was preparing a film version of the 1931 Sigmund Romberg and Oscar Hammerstein II stage musical "East Wind" to be filmed in Technicolor. Koerner's sudden death in February 1946 and the subsequent change in studio management ended the project.
At an MGM exhibitors sales convention in February 1949 it was announced that the studio would probably reunite Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald to star for producer Joe Pasternak in "His Excellency from Brazil." By the time the film was released the title had been changed to Nancy Goes to Rio (1950) and the parts were played by Ann Sothern and Barry Sullivan.
He was a lifelong supporter of the Republican party.
Eddy appeared with Jeanette MacDonald on Gordon MacRae's TV show in 1956. They each sang a solo and collaborated on a duet. Most critics agreed that her voice had faded. In 1957 and 1958 they collaborated on an album of their movie hits entitled "Favorites in Hi-Fi.".
In 1959, after 23 years, "Indian Love Call" hit the million mark in sales.
In the last years of his life, his work schedule didn't vary. He dropped his concerts and concentrated on his nightclub act, touring 40 weeks a year with pretty blonde Gale Sherwood as his singing partner.
MGM chief Louis B. Mayer hired singer Charles Igor Gorin as a backup in case Eddy became temperamental, but he never did and Gorin never played a role intended for Eddy.
When Eddy first went on tour ("hoping for $50 a concert and glad to get $25") in 1928, he hired Theodore Paxson, who remained Eddy's accompanist for four decades.
In 1963 Ross Huntertried to entice Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald back onto the screen as an aging married couple who find themselves suddenly about to have a baby. They declined.
In 1939, he had the house at 485 Halvern Dr., Brentwood Heights, built for himself and Jeanette MacDonald, who was soon to be divorced. That fell through, and, a few years later, sold to Fred MacMurray. The architect was Sylvanus Marsden. The house is still there, and the exterior front is essential unchanged as of December, 2021.
He was the son of Isabel (Kendrick) and William Darius Eddy. His ancestry included English, some Dutch, and distant Scottish and Scots-Irish/Northern Irish, Polish, and French. He had deep roots in Rhode Island.

Personal Quotes (8)

[on why he refused to see his own films] I was too ashamed of them.
[during his 1960s nightclub tour] I want to keep going until I drop.
[In 1957] I don't know why people still want to believe that Jeanette MacDonald and I were a couple off the set. There's no truth to that rumor, at all. She's happily married to Gene Raymond and I'm happily married to Anne. I guess people want to believe that what they see on the screen is reality while in actuality, it's just a movie!
[reacting to seeing himself in an elaborate costume and makeup onscreen] Get him. Ain't he purty?
[In 1934, about his career] I engaged a dramatic coach and began to study the technique of acting on the screen. That same day I discovered how little I really knew, and I've been studying ever since.
[about some of the films he and Jeanette MacDonald were offered in their later career] We've been asked to do what might be called "B" pictures. Rather than do that, we decided to leave it on a high note.
[to a reporter a couple of days prior to his death] I'll go on singing until I drop because I love it.
[his last words onstage as he was having a stroke that would prove fatal] Will you bear with me a minute. I can't seem to get the words out. [after asking his accompanist to play "Dardanella"] My face is getting numb. Is there a doctor here?

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