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Famous Like Me > Singer > E > Nelson Ackerman Eddy

Profile of Nelson Ackerman Eddy on Famous Like Me

Name: Nelson Ackerman Eddy  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 6th March 1901
Place of Birth: Providence, Rhode Island
Profession: Singer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia
Nelson Eddy

Nelson Ackerman Eddy (born June 29, 1901; died March 6, 1967) was an American singer and film actor.

Born in Providence, Rhode Island, Eddy's parents were both singers, and he would later say that singing was the only career he ever contemplated. He studied in Dresden and Paris before performing his first concert recital in Philadelphia in 1928. He continued performing in opera, oratorios, concerts and radio over the next few years, and in 1933 impressed Ida Koverman, secretary to MGM executive Louis B. Mayer who was in the audience.

Eddy's first success was in the film Naughty Marietta (1935) opposite Jeanette MacDonald. The two became so closely identified by the public that MGM continued pairing them in such films as Rose-Marie (1936), Maytime (1937), The Girl of the Golden West (1938) Sweethearts (1938), New Moon (1940) Bitter Sweet (1940) and I Married an Angel (1942). His solo films included Rosalie (1937) Let Freedom Ring (1939), Balalaika (1939) The Chocolate Soldier (1941) and Phantom of the Opera (1943). Though admired for his singing voice, critics were usually scathing in their comments regarding his acting abilities, and he found it difficult to break away from the typecasting of the light operetta roles to which he was assigned. Still, he became the highest paid singer in the world and his concerts were mob scenes of screaming female fans--not unlike a rock star of today. During World War II he left films to do government work. After the war, the operetta film roles were out of vogue and his career was greatly diminished. He continued appearing on radio (occasionally with MacDonald) and attracted a large following with his own nightclub show during the 1950s. He and MacDonald shared a gold record album when, in 1958, they released "Favorites in HiFi (and Stereo)."

In later years, he established himself as a popular concert performer with audiences who remembered nostalgically his popular movie roles.

He collapsed on stage while performing in Miami Beach, Florida and died shortly after as a result of a stroke at the age of 65. He is interred in Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Hollywood, California.

Eddy married Ann Franklin in 1939 and they remained married until his death, when rumors began to emerge that he had an off-screen relationship with Jeanette MacDonald. Sweethearts by Sharon Rich (revised edition, 2001), ISBN 0971199817, discusses Eddy's lengthy affair with MacDonald, drawing on excerpts from letters, diaries, interviews and the unpublished memoirs of Eddy's mother. Nelson Eddy:The Opera Years by Sharon Rich (2001), ISBN 0971199809, covers Eddy's complete opera and concert career from 1922-35.

In answer to unsourced gossip that MacDonald and Eddy could not have had an affair due to Eddy's being gay, "Sweethearts" quotes testimony of several women who had lengthy heterosexual affairs with him from the 1920s through the 1960s, including Maryon Murphy, wife of film director Ralph Murphy, and author K.T. Ernshaw ("To Love Again") (2001, ISBN 0595166075) who also provided a detailed and candid interview about herself and Eddy, and the Eddy and MacDonald affair, in "Mac/Eddy Today Issue #62 and #63" (2003, ISSN 0891-527X). Another false rumor is that studio head Louis B. Mayer forced Eddy to marry. Eddy's elopement to Las Vegas with Ann Franklin followed MacDonald's well-documented (ie, newspaper blurbs, a photo with Hedda Hopper at her bedside) hospital stays following a miscarriage, her going to Reno to establish residency there so she could obtain a divorce from Gene Raymond, then backing out due to pressure from Mayer. On the rebound, Eddy eloped with Franklin. "Sweethearts" cites several sources that Eddy was drunk when he married Franklin; one of the sources was Eddy's accompanist, Theodore Paxson. It should be noted that Gene Raymond (who was also blond and somewhat resembled Eddy) was arrested at least three times for gay-related incidents; a photo of his 1938 arrest and booking number is reproduced in "Sweethearts", page 498 of the 2001 edition, an army nurse is named and quoted for the second arrest, while retired Scotland Yard detective Joe Sampson discussed the third arrest, which occurred in England during WWII.

Nelson Eddy was given three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to Recordings, Radio and Motion Pictures (at 6311 Hollywood Boulevard).


  • The Desert Song (1955) (TV movie)
  • Northwest Outpost (1947)
  • Make Mine Music (1946) (Nelson provided the "Willie the Operatic Whale" sequence)
  • Knickerbocker Holiday (1944)
  • Phantom of the Opera (1943)
  • I Married An Angel (1942)
  • The Chocolate Soldier (1941)
  • Bitter Sweet (1940)
  • New Moon (1940)
  • Balalaika (1939)
  • Let Freedom Ring (1939)
  • Sweethearts (1938)
  • The Girl of the Golden West (1938)
  • Rosalie (1937)
  • Maytime (1937)
  • Rose Marie (1936)
  • Naughty Marietta (1935)
  • Student Tour (1934)
  • Dancing Lady (1933)
  • Broadway to Hollywood (1933)
  • Handlebars (1933) (MGM short subject, Nelson sang "A Bicycle Built for Two")

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Nelson Ackerman Eddy