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. He is interred in Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Hollywood, California.
Eddy married Ann Franklin in 1939 and 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discusses Eddy's lengthy affair with MacDonald, drawing on excerpts from letters, diaries, interviews and the unpublished memoirs of Eddy's mother.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.
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).
Nelson Eddy Facts
|Birth Name||Nelson Ackerman Eddy|
|Birthday||June 29, 1901|
|Birthplace||Providence, Rhode Island, USA|
|Date of death||March 6, 1967 (age 65)|
|Height||6' (1m83) How tall is Nelson Eddy compared to you?|
|Make Mine Music|
|Phantom of the Opera|
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