Sweethearts…The definitive biography of the two stars and their tragic off-screen romance. Candid, straightforward and hence controversial, this book addresses every rumor about them and debunks once and for all the idea that they hated each other off-screen…or were just platonic friends. It is thoroughly documented, names sources (many of them famous) and has about 50 pages of source notes. You don’t have to be a fan to get caught up in their incredible story.
Jeanette MacDonald: The Irving Stone Letters. Hundreds of handwritten pages of Jeanette’s own love letters to Irving Stone, the man she dated during her late Broadway years. She candidly discusses Broadway and Hollywood gossip, sex, her views on homosexuals, and marriage to someone she’s not certain she loves. In 1927 she worries about pregnancy and setting up trysts behind her mother’s back; the following year she carefully juggles simultaneous affairs with two men. She discusses various health problems including her earliest documented heart attack in 1929 at age 26. Her letters are transcribed uncensored in their entirety, with many original reproductions. Her writing gives insight into the fiercely determined young singer who went on to become a 1930s Hollywood icon. The letters continue through her Hollywood years until her marriage to Gene Raymond.
Nelson Eddy: The Opera Years. The most complete study of Nelson’s early career, with many pages reproduced from his own scrapbooks. Many fascinating early interviews and all his reviews for every performance whether concert, opera or oratorio. In some instances, Nelson wrote his own commentary in the margins of the scrapbook pages. Includes a chapter on Jeanette MacDonald’s career as well as an unproduced movie script that Nelson wrote. He hoped to star in duo roles in the film, playing the great Russian opera star Chaliapin, and also playing himself as the young Nelson Eddy.
Jeanette MacDonald Autobiography: The Lost Manuscript. Jeanette’s unfinished book circa 1960. Her collaborator was Hollywood magazine legend Fredda Dudley Balling. This is a near-final version with Jeanette’s handwritten comments, corrections and cross-outs on every page. Plus correspondence from Balling about the problems in both writing the book with Jeanette (dealing both with Jeanette’s temperament and also her failing health)…and then attempting to publish it against Gene Raymond’s wishes after Jeanette’s death. Sharon Rich annotates and provides a running time line and reality check on “facts” that Jeanette skims over or writes out of history. However, Jeanette openly discusses her problematic marriage and honeymoon, and the fact that they nearly broke a few times in the 1950s. A fascinating look at Jeanette MacDonald’s struggle – on paper – of how much truth she feels can be told.
The Rosary by Florence L. Barclay with new introduction by Sharon Rich – the #1 best selling book of 1911, was tentatively planned as a comeback film for Jeanette and Nelson in the late 1940s. The story was perfect for them, with middle-aged heroes that also sang, in a “Jane Eyre” plot. Along with the original novel, Sharon Rich has added an introduction about the author, Florence L. Barclay, as well as the Jeanette MacDonald-Nelson Eddy connection. Circa 1948, Jeanette and Nelson were both on separate concert tours but discussing the novel back and forth in letters. These are presented as well, as the two stars found great irony in the plot line and their own lives.
Also, please note that these books are also available along with all the other MacDonald/Eddy magazines (if you are a fan) at maceddy.com. The magazines contain full interview transcripts, for example, whereby in Sweethearts I might have quoted a line or two. As well as other documentation of importance, wills, diary entries. eyewitness accounts and the like. Enjoy!