Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Place of Death
Houston, Texas, USA
Cause of Death
Claim to Fame
The Merry Widow
Traditional Pop, Classical, Opera, Vocal Pop
Romantic, Delicate, Dramatic, Earnest, Innocent, Soothing, Theatrical, Poignant, Sweet, Intimate, Reflective, Lush, Gentle, Sentimental, Wistful, Plaintive, Yearning, Refined/Mannered, Bittersweet, Nostalgic
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Full Name at Birth
Jeanette Anna MacDonald
Anna May Wright
Blossom MacDonald (Grandmama on The Addams Family)
Spencer Tracy, Lotte Lehman, Judy Garland, Samuel Griffin, Joan Crawford, Reginald Owen, Ilona Massey, Ralph Edwards, Kay Mulvay, Alfred Hitchcock, Ronald Reagan, Gale Sherwood, Allan Jones, Greer Garson, Jane Powell, Irene Dunne, Charles Buddy Rogers, Jack Oakie, Joe E. Brown, Lew Ayres, Buddy Ebsen, Leon Ames, Otto Krueger, Reginald Denny, Jose Iturbi, Johnny Mack Brown, Virginia Grey, Llyod Nolan, Mary Pickford, Ernest Lubitsch, W.S. Van Dyke
Hollywood Diva: A Biography of Jeanette MacDonald (Edward Baron Turk), The Jeanette MacDonald story (James Robert Parish), Jeanette MacDonald: The Irving Stone Letters  (sharon rich), Sweethearts: The Timeless Love Affair - On-screen and Off - Between Jeanette MacDonald  (sharon rich)
Jeanette Anna MacDonald (June 18, 1903 – January 14, 1965) was an American singer and actress best remembered for her musical films of the 1930s with Maurice Chevalier (The Love Parade, Love Me Tonight, The Merry Widow and One Hour With You) and Nelson Eddy (Naughty Marietta, Rose-Marie, and Maytime). During the 1930s and 1940s she starred in 29 feature films, four nominated for Best Picture Oscars (The Love Parade, One Hour with You, Naughty Marietta and San Francisco), and recorded extensively, earning three gold records. She later appeared in opera, concerts, radio, and television. MacDonald was one of the most influential sopranos of the 20th century, introducing opera to movie-going audiences and inspiring a generation of singers.
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Music Profile Complete
Profile Bio Text
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.
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.
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