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JMFC is proud to announce that the Presidents Clara and Tessa of the Jeanette International Fan Club have chosen this website to talk to  Jeanette's True Loyal Fans. JMFC extends our deepest gratitude and look forward to exciting and wonderful times, hearing their comments, messages, and other items of interests to share with you.

                     Gia & Gio



Clara Rhoades &  Tessa Williams


September and December, 2004

Tessa Williams on Mr. Ted Paxson Part I & II


August, 2004


Sept., 2004  Tessa Williams

Good Morning Mr. Paxson Part I


July, 2004


June, 2004


May, 2004


March, 2004

Clara's "Will you remember?"


Top of Page




Fans ask Clara and Tessa to set the record Straight

on Attacks on Jeanette.


September 25, 2006


(This WGN Medical News Report Link Supports Comments in this Interview)


Gio and Gia: The only way to set the record straight today about the one person's attempt to tarnish our Jeanette MacDonald is to go directly to the two people who Jeanette and Gene trusted totally--Clara and Tessa, the two presidents of Jeanette's fan club (the JMIFC now in its 70th year). In your own words please tell us the real story about Jeanette.


JMIFC: Jeanette was a true star and singing diva.  She lived a life that was clean, honest, and loving.  She never gossiped or engaged in backstage politics. She was the idol to millions of people around the world, and always lived a life that was above reproach. When Edward R. Murrow, who was the voice of CBS News and never hesitated to seek out the truth, interviewed Jeanette and Gene in his Person-to-Person TV show, found them to be just what the world had always known; they were in love and true to one another.  Knowing there was not even the slightest suggestion of any kind of gossip about them, he showed to the world during this interview just who Jeanette and Gene really were--true Sweethearts. 

    The best way to set the record straight is by stating the FACTS, and doing it in the manner that Jeanette did all of her life, never stooping down to those who willfully spoke unkindly about others. IT has always been out goal to present the real story of Jeanette, know this posting in the JMFC (JeanetteMacdonaldFanClub.com) we will continue do just this, state the facts with no monetary interests like others do. We know the JMFC shall stay true in posting what we have to say, and post the facts to make them available to all to read.


Gio and Gia: People may claim they knew someone who knew Jeanette and Gene; but you ladies are truly the two most rock-solid, undisputed, reliable expert sources then and today, who did know them.  Everybody knows that Jeanette and Gene always trusted  both of you the most.  And that is why the names of Clara Rhoades and Tessa Williams are the two names listed as the JMIFC Presidents, Jeanette's only authorized fan club endorsed by both Jeanette and Gene..


JMIFC: That is correct!  Gene use to call us his family. 

FACT: In 1961/2 Jeanette selected personally Clara Rhoades to be the new president of her fan club. This was restated by Gene when Jeanette had passed away in 1965. It was Clara Rhoades who Jeanette chose.

FACT: It was Clara Rhoades and Tessa William that Gene gave all copies, notes, and edits of Jeanette's autobiography to.


JMIFC: As for the topic of Jeanette's love life, it is one filled with hopeful wishing. But making the impossible come true can only happen in fairy tales and fictional writing. This is nothing new in Jeanette's life. Two examples bring this point home. The first is Walter Winchell who continued to write that Jeanette was married to Bob Ritchie, her agent. At every opportunity he would restate this, until Jeanette had had enough and quickly put an end to his silly nonsense by offering $5000.00 to anyone, anywhere who could bring forward a legal marriage license. No one ever did and Winchell finally stopped. That was back in the 1930's.


Gio and Gia: And more recently?


JMIFC: Yes, we are sad to say that there is another person who claims that Jeanette was having an affair with one of her co-stars. This is based upon what Jeanette's sister Blossom had "Supposedly" told this person when Blossom lived at the Motion Picture Country Home. Again, like Water Winchell, this person lay claims that no one else in the world has ever claimed. But then this person has made a business off Jeanette. And their story is truly one for the medical records and Ripley's Believe or Not. This person told us that they had befriended Jeanette's sister, Edith Marie Blossom MacDonald (living in the Motion Picture Country Home), and "Blossom actually told this person--verbally--all about Jeanette and Nelson".


Gio and Gia: QUESTION: Where are the tapes of Blossom actually speaking about this romance? Portable cassette tape recorders were available, why didn't this person do as other good writers and reporters do, record the conversation?  If there were tapes, where are they now?  Why not play them for the world to hear? This would put an end to any doubts.


JMIFC: Yes, that's if there were tapes. We are, however, suppose to believe this person.  And yet, with no tapes of Blossom's voice speaking, this claim immediately raised a red flag.

FACT: Blossom suffered a debilitating stroke shortly after the demise of "the Addams Family" TV series in 1966, and lost the ability to speak in her last years.

FACT: Disability was due to APHASIA.

FACT: Aphasia is a disorder that results from damage to language centers of the brain. The damage to the left side of the brain causes aphasia. As a result, individuals who were previously able to communicate through speaking, listening, reading and writing become more limited in their ability to do so. The most common cause of aphasia is stroke.


Gio and Gia: So it was impossible for her to talk, thus tell this elaborate tale?


JMIFC: Yes. If one was to check the records at the Motion Picture Country Home, it will show that Blossom was afraid of this strange person who was bothering not only Blossom but other actors there and was removed.


Gio and Gia: QUESTION: Other people who knew Blossom at the time, had to ask, when this book came out about a "Supposed Affair" Jeanette and Nelson had, how could this be that Blossom actually spoke to this person when Blossom was unable to talk.


JMIFC: Ah!... You now see a pattern forming here. 

FACT: Jeanette and Blossom were very close, and not once during Jeanette's lifetime did Blossom ever elude to such relations about her sister with any of her co-stars, except the one she was married to, Gene.

FACT: Quite to the contrary, Jeanette never engaged in backstage gossip or non-business activities on the set or after shooting. She was a true professional who had wise guidance from her mother, Anna MacDonald, who was with her daughter all the time.

FACT: The publishers turned down Jeanette's autobiography on the grounds that it was not spicy, there was no "Tell-All", and no gossip.

FACT: Only after these two people have passed away do we suddenly hear from only one person in the world who "Claims" that there was an affair between Jeanette and Nelson. Strangely enough, Nelson's sister said that due to a childhood accident he was unable to have children, which makes the idea that these two people who could have conceived children not once but four times is one left for the comic books. The world is to believe that of all the people in the world, Blossom, who was unable to talk, chose this person she was afraid of to open up to and tell her that she seem fit to tell no one else.

To follow this reasoning, why didn't Blossom just tell Life or Look Magazine and make money off the hidden secret. AGAIN: WHERE ARE THE TAPES?

FACT: It was very well known in Hollywood and around the world that for 28 years Jeanette and her husband, Gene had a wonderful marriage.

FACT: Gene was true American war hero. As alluded to earlier, yes you are correct there are two people who knew Jeanette and Gene better than anyone else living today, and that is the presidents of the 70 year old Jeanette MacDonald International Fan Club, voted in 1980 as the best Fan Club in the World.


Gio and Gia: AND WHO BEST to go to for the real story. 


JMIFC: We can't tell you how many people have refuted everything this person has written.

FACT: For 40 years the JMIFC has hosted a fan get together in Los Angeles called the Clan Clave. During these 40 years, hundreds of stars who knew, worked with, and were life long friends of Jeanette and Gene, came to these wonderful banquets. These people who were really in the know, proudly proclaimed Jeanette and Gene's love for each other, and that Jeanette was always true to one man, her husband. There has never been any rumors of Jeanette carousing with anyone before her marriage, and during her marriage. And, today, outside of one person, there is still no one who has ever presented factual proof that this alleged romance ever occurred. It is facts and not hearsay that in the end will stand the test of time. Again, there are many reputable sources that refute and challenge the authenticity of this one writer. As to a pattern forming, the referral to Gene, allegedly being gay, is another red flag.


Gio and Gia: We are glad you mentioned this.

QUESTION: With all the Hollywood writers covering actor's every move, why wasn't this juicy story spread across the headlines? 


JIMFC: FACT: Gene was going to sue the author three different times, only to be talked out of it by his attorneys. Through their wise legal council, they pointed out that by doing so would only bring notoriety to the book. Thus he didn't; and the book never did anything.


Gio and Gia: If the public really wants to know how special you two ladies are on the lives of Jeanette and Gene, we believe Edward Baron Turk, who worked with the both of you in doing his research for his book on Jeanette called Hollywood Diva, dedicates the last page of his book to two people, and their names are Clara Rhoades and Tessa Williams. A true compliment and acknowledgement of the fact that both of you really knew Jeanette and Gene. There is no such acknowledgement to this other person who still has presented NO TAPES of BLOSSOM telling this story.


JMIFC: Thank you, it is indeed an honor we hold dear to us. 


Gio and Gia:  As to Jeanette's autobiography--when we visited with both of you ladies in Topeka, we also were given the honor of seeing Jeanette's autobiography and her revisions.  Having read it has shown us exactly how silly these claims made are. We are also happy to tell you that once the JMFC has explained the "FACTS", reputable sources, like IMDB.com, withdrew any mention of any alleged such affair in Jeanette's life. We can't thank you enough for the time to set the record straight. In closing, is there any last thing you like to tell the fans?


JMIFC: Thank you Gio and Gia for taking time to help us tell the world the facts.  There are so many thing we would love to tell the fans, and have in publishing over 40 years of the JMIFC's Golden Comet Journal, which is filled Jeanette and Gene's own words when they were with us.  But now that Jeanette and Gene are no longer with us, it is more than ever important to preserve what they worked so hard in life to do, and that is to keep their good names untarnished. Lets hope the facts present here will get out and people will learn the real life story of Hollywood's Sweethearts.



September, 2004

Conversation with Tessa Williams 

 "Good Morning, Mr. Paxson!"


Part I


JMFC Gio: "Tessa, it is so sweet of you to take time out to talk about a person who was very dear to you—Ted Paxson.  Over the next couple of months, I would like to have you tell JMFC about Ted Paxson, so our fans can share the rich and rewarding experience you had knowing him.”


Tessa: "Gio, I appreciate the opportunity to talk about Mr. Paxson, who was my piano accompanist for fourteen years.  He was a great musician, a truly wonderful human being, and a dear friend. "


JMFC Gio: "You say twelve years, and yet, you referred to him formally as Mr. Paxson…"


Tessa: "Yes, I know!  It is out of the respect I hold for him.  I suppose it is similar to you referring to your voice teacher as Maestro."


JMFC Gio: "Ah … I see!  Having known Ted Paxson all those years—I am sure you learned a lot about singing songs and—if I might add, a lot about people in the business…" 

Tessa: “Working with Mr. Paxson was an extremely important point in my singing career.  I could go on forever about him; however, I think we should start at the beginning.” 

JMFC Gio: “Could give us a little bio on one of America's best known accompanist?"

Tessa: Of, course!  He was born Theodore Paxson in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, April 28, 1908.   His interest in the piano started when he was six year old.  He played the church organ at the age of fifteen and began accompanying singers at auditions a few years later.  It was at one of these auditions where he met a young baritone in 1927 by the name of Nelson Eddy and became a team.  In time, Mr. Paxson developed a professional reputation accompanying many of the major great singers like: Licia Albanese, Kirstan Flagstad, Lily Pons, Grace Moore, Helen Traubel, Luaritz Melchior, Igor Gorin, and of course, Jeanette MacDonald.  He married his wife, Helen, and they moved to California and had two sons.  Mr. Paxson was such a marvelous talent, composing art and religious songs.  He was the organist at the Church of the Lighted Windows in La Canada, California for a number of years. Later, he specialized in private coaching and became an  Artist-in-Residence and professor of music at Ambassador College, in Pasadena.  Mr. Paxson passed away September 16, 1979 at the age of 71, five months after his lovely wife had  died, April 11, 1979. ” 

JMFC Gio: “And he coached and accompanied you!  I know this is an interesting story in itself.  We look forward to hearing more about this.” 

Tessa: “Yes, and me.  But let me tell you Gio what happened when Mr. Paxson accompanied Jeanette.  At the last moment he stepped in at her request, when she was singing at the Hollywood Bowl with Leopold Stokowski in 1948.  Collins Smith, her regular accompanist was unable.  What was so amazing, of course Jeanette’s singing, but also when Mr. Paxson finished playing, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra started to shuffle their feet as a means to show their appreciation of his fabulous playing.  Oddly enough, Nelson pretty much wanted Mr. Paxson to play exclusively for him, and did not look forward to him playing for others.  But then—what could Nelson do—this was Jeanette MacDonald.”   

JMFC Gio: “If Nelson did not want Ted to play for other singers, how did he play for you?” 

Tessa: “Oh, ha-ha!...  Mr. Paxson only agreed to accompany me after Nelson’s death.  And even then—I had to audition for him.  Mr. Paxson was quite pleased with my voice, and agreed to work with me.  That was twelve wonderful years of collaboration.” 

JMFC Gio: “I have heard the tape of your concerts in New York at Lincoln Center and Town Hall, where Ted accompanied you.  If I might just take a moment out to compliment you on two magnificent performances you gave.  You have a beautiful voice.  And Ted played superbly.  The two of you should have toured the country.  You would both have been a great success.” 

Tessa: “Thank you, Gio, for those most gracious words.  Coming from you, who was a singer, and know the singing voice better than anyone else I know, I feel very honored.” 

JMFC Gio: “As always, anytime the JMFC chats with you and Clara, the honor is always ours.  I think this would be a nice time to stop and we can continue to chat more about Ted Paxson again, soon…”

Tessa: “Yes, I would like that.  However, I do have to let you know that Clara had some more answers to give you on questions from the fans.  But, seeing we started our little series `Good Morning, Mr. Paxson’, she said she will give them to you when we have finished the series.  Thank you again for chatting with me about a person very dear to the music world, Jeanette, and me.  Please give our love to Gia, and we wish you both a wonderful week.  Until next time, auior revoir.”

December 1, 2004

Conversation with Tessa Williams 

"Good Morning, Mr. Paxson!"

Part II


JMFC’s Gio: “Tessa, Gia and I, would like to thank you and Clara for your warm Thanksgiving greetings.  We are delighted that this Thanksgiving finds you both in good health and great spirits.  As you know, we have received many wonderful emails about Part I of your recollections of Theodore Paxson and know our Website friends are eagerly looking for Part II. 


Tessa: “I am happy that so many others have found in Mr. Paxson what I had, a superb musician and a great human being.  It was indeed an enriching and rewarding experience in knowing him.” 

JMFC’s Gio: And when did you first meet Ted Paxson? 

Tessa: “It was in my hometown of Pasadena, during the fall of 1967.  Mr. Paxson lived there and when Nelson Eddy passed away, Mr. Paxson could once again resume his career in accompanying other singers.  With his genius for music and languages, he embarked on a new path, vocal coaching.  This new venture was a great break for me!  Being part of the Jeanette MacDonald International Fan Club, my good friend, Clara, who knew Mr. Paxson, had spoken of me, and through her, I was able to get an audition with him.” 

JMFC’s Gio: “How did you feel going to see him for the first time?” 

Tessa: “Like your voice teacher, Prof. Baer, Mr. Paxson also taught from his home.  I remember it was a sunny day, and I walked up and rang the doorbell.  This man opened the door and looked around and saw no one.  It was then that he looked down and saw me, all 5 feet 1 inch of me.  He smile and invited me in.  Moments later his wife, Helen entered the room and he introduced himself and his wife.” 

JMFC’s Gio: “And what did you perform during your audition? 

Tessa: “I don’t remember exactly what I sang, but I do remember Mr. Paxson was pleased that I was a lyric soprano.  He laughing mentioned that he preferred lyric soprano’s voice to that of coloratura sopranos.  What was funny was that he traveled and played for Lily Pons, a famous coloratura soprano.” 

JMFC’s Gio: “When did you go for your sessions?” 

Tessa: “I would usually go at least twice if not three times a week, at 11:00 A.M.  If I was doing a concert, sometime I would could more often.” 

JMFC’s Gio: “And how long were your coaching sessions?” 

Tessa: “Oh, my goodness—sometimes we would go on for hours.  As the years passed by, and he got to know me better, I remember him telling me once, `Tessa, if I only knew how you learned your music so fast—we could become millionaires’”.  

JMFC’s Gio: “What did you work on?” 

“Every thing! It varied from opera to art songs and Lieder, and in many different languages.  I remember when Ann Eddy wanted us to appear as her guests at a music club she belonged to.  We had prepared one thing, but on a last minute request of Mrs. Eddy, she asked if we would do an all French program.  Mr. Paxson, knowing my ability to learn music fast, gave me a list of songs to learn over the weekend, and that next week the performance went off without a hitch.  Mrs. Eddy thanked Mr. Paxson, and then asked where he found `This lovely singer’, and she went on to say I had a marvelous voice.  It was a compliment coming from an accomplished musician herself.  Ann Eddy, I remember was warm and very charming.  I came away from the musical event with wonderful memories.” 

JMFC’s Gio: “How was he with languages?”

Tessa: “Mr. Paxson was so gifted when it came to languages.  I was amazed how he knew songs in so many different languages.  This was a great part of his ability in accompanying singers.  He was just so musical.”

JMFC’s Gio: “What advice, if any, did he offer you about singing?” 

Tessa: “He was a musical genius and showed me the great musicality of each song I learned.  His depth and insight of music was truly masterful, and I always came away from each session feeling like I had learned something more about music.”

JMFC's Gio: "Tessa, this has truly been another treat for Gia and I and we are sure all of the many visitors who will JMFC.  Gia and I send our warmest wishes to both you and Clara. We look forward to Part III. May we wish you both a very happy and merry Holiday Season.

Tessa: “Thank you, Gio. It has been fun.  I hope the fans enjoy Mr. Paxson as all those who do him.  He was truly an amazing person.  Thank you again for chatting with me about a person very dear to the music world, Jeanette, and me.  Clara and I send our best to Gia and you and your family, and all of the many Jeanette Fan a Happy Holiday Season.  Until next time, auior revoir.”

August 1, 2004

Clara and Tessa 


JMFC Gio: "Dear Clara and Tessa--another month has rolled by and Gia and I would like to thank you for taking the time to answer some questions."


Clara & Tessa: "It is nice getting together with you and talking about what is of interest to your Website's guests." 


JMFC Gia: "The big question is what was Jeanette's average day like around the house?"


Tessa: "We had written about this years ago in the Golden Comet regularly, so to those fans who still have a copy of it, this might seem familiar."


JMFC Gia: "Tessa, dear, when it comes to our darling Jeanette, it is always exciting. Besides, there are so many new and  younger fans who never had a chance to read the fascinating issues you publish.  So I think the fans are in for a treat to hear from you on what her average day life was like."



With exclusive permission of Clara Rhoades and Tessa Williams, here is a real treat for all you True Loyal Jeanette Fans.


Questions from the Golden Comets 1961&63


Jeanette's average day around the house....


"I do not have a routine but  I'm usually up around 9--(unless I've had a particularly bad nite's sleep) -- read paper during breakfast, make phone calls or dictate letters with Emily --off or for whatever appointments I may have--try to take a nap around four to five-- finish unfinished business and then dinner at 6:30 or 7:00--depnding upon Gene's return."


Jeanette on a free day....


"At home? Sleeping late, or catching up with mail piled high on Emily's desk.  At Palm Springs house?  Lying in the sun.  At New York apartment?  Cleaning out closet and bureau drawers."


Relationship to family....


"We've had close family relationships, but I've always been closer to blossom--partly because she was home more and lives out here now."


Difference of age of three MacDonald sisters...


"Elsie, oldest is about 11 years. Blossom (Marie or Mary Blake) just over 8 years older."


Relationship to close relatives .....


"No! Don't have any."


Jeanette's Favorite Opera.....


"La Traviata."


Jeanette's Favorite color...


"Pink or coral."


Jeanette's Favorite Flower....


"Rose -- I don't know why?"


Jeanette's Favorite Composers....


"Puccini, Herbert, Friml, Romberg, Lehar."


Jeanette on sing Christmas Carols....


"Oddly enough, no."


Jeanette's Favorite Columnist....


"I think Hedda Harper.  She and I have been the best of friends."


JMFC Gia and Gio: "Thank you for the lovely chat."


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Clara and Tessa 

July 1, 2004


JMFC Gio: "Dear Tessa, it is so sweet of you to take the time to answer a few questions."


Tessa Williams: "Oh, Gio, it's a delight." 


JMFC Gio: "You have been with the JMIFC for many years.  Would you care to tell the fans how long you ladies have been fans of Jeanette's?"


Tessa Williams: "Oh!... (smile) since we were young ladies and saw Jeanette on the big screen, I am sure a lot like millions of others who discovered Jeanette.  She was larger than life on screen and even greater in real life." 


JMFC Gia: "Oh, I can see why JMIFC has been so popular for 67 years--it is the home of the greatest star in the world, and you two darling ladies have been exactly what Jeanette always wanted in her fans, True Loyal Fans who make everyone feel that, at the JMIFC, they have a home." 


JMFC Gio:  "A question about Jeanette's 28 year romance marriage to her beloved Gene?"


Tessa Williams: "Oh, yes!  As the noted author of her biography said, James Robert Parish, `Her nearly thirty-year  love affair with Mr. Raymond was as incredibly real and beautiful as her almost  always benevolent nature (no matter what the vast array of disbelievers insisted)'."


JMFC Gio: "Now that Jeanette has left us, it seems like there are so many people who wish to rewrite her life to their own invention?"


Tessa Williams:  "Everyone said that Ronnie and Nancy Reagan's marriage wasn't real when they were in the White House; and yet, today the whole world sees their marriage for just what it was--a real romance between the two.  It is the same of Jeanette and Gene, but then, you cannot make money off a real romance like theirs--so, people just make up things and call it real.  You know, Gio, being a writer, how people can twist and turn words to fit their wild imaginations.  They will claim they have all sorts of facts, papers, documents, or have talked to hundreds of people who  knew them, but in actuality, it is all fantasy.  The important thing is what the Jeanette Fans know and believe.  They know that she lived a wonderful and truthful life and Hollywood never soiled her.  She never gossiped about anyone nor talked badly about a person.  And there are still a lot of people around who remember all of Jeanette's own words she spoke and we printed in the Golden Comet.  Yes, their romance was the real life Sweethearts that will outshine and out live all of the negative things people are making up."


JMFC Gia and Gio: "Thank you for the lovely chat."


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Clara and Tessa 

(June 1, 2004)


JMFC Gio: "Dear Clara, this being Jeanette's birth month (June 18) can you tell us some things special about our Beloved Jeanette?"


Clara Rhoades: "Why don't I let others tell you what they thought about our Golden Diva in their own words."


Clarence Bull The Faces of Hollywood....

"Jeanette's delicate beauty and feminine grace and exquisite manner were as much a joy to photograph as her voice was to record on the sound track."

Beverley Sills Beverly an Autobiography....

"The only movies I liked were musicals starring Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy.  I became a big Jeanette MacDonald fan, especially after seeing her sing an aria from `Faust' in San Francisco."

Richard Rogers Musical Stages autobiography....

"Jeanette MacDonald, whom I had known slightly when she was a Broadway ingénue during the twenties.  Not many people know that Jeanette was an accomplished horsewoman, and that she insisted on doing all her own riding in the film.  In the finale she was called upon to ride a horse fast enough to over take a rapidly moving train, jump off the horse and force the on coming locomotive to come to a halt by standing defiantly on the tracks.  Our cameras were set up on a train running parallel to the one being filmed, and Jeanette had to race furiously between them.  It's hard to understand why the studio allowed her to take such a risk, but she managed to get her way."

Jane Powell T.V. Sweethearts....

"Years later when Jeanette and I were in a picture together, I was so surprised to discover that beneath her elegant appearance she was down to earth and a very funny lady." 

James Robert Parish The Jeanette MacDonald Story....

"Billed as `The girl with the red-gold hair and sea-green eyes' on Broadway, known as the `Iron Butterfly' in Hollywood, Jeanette MacDonald is revealed here as a warm, irrepressible person with a surprisingly whimsical sense of humor."

Gene Raymond Interview T.V. Sweethearts 1994....

"I lived with the lady for 28 years and I know what I'm talking about.  She was, extra ordinary, absolutely, on the unbelievable side.  She was terrific."


JMFC Gio: "Thank you ladies for being so kind to answer the fan's questions."



Clara and Tessa 

May 1, 2004)


JMFC Gio: "Dear Clara, can you tell us some things that people were not aware of about our beloved Jeanette? "


Clara Rhoades: "Here are just a few Special Things about Jeanette that people were not aware of:


* Yes, Jeanette had a wonderful sense of humor.

* Jeanette was very loyal and devoted with her co-workers.

* Jeanette was very wonderful--the studio adored her as did everyone.

* Emily West was her secretary for 25 years."


<Quotes for the month from the JMIFC>


* "I did not want to present myself as the angelic creature that I seemingly represent to a certain group of people," Jeanette MacDonald.


* "Jeanette was just right for me, everything I wanted," Gene Raymond July 29, 1993.


* "Jeanette was not without temperament.  Jeanette usually did her own make-up.  I thought she was one of the loveliest women in Hollywood," William Tuttle, MGM Make-up Artist.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


March 25, 2004)


Will You Remember?

Clara Rhoades

   Ah yes, I can and will remember—as I often do. The problem is where to start? Perhaps attending my first Jeanette MacDonald concert. It was in the Music Hall in Kansas City. My seat was in the front row and it was such a thrill when she walked out on stage. Her gown was pink and filmy. Jeanette was able to hold the audience in her hand from the beginning. Everyone was so quiet until the ending of each song . . . then they burst out with applause and Jeanette was beaming and the love affair continued through out the whole program. Her curtsies were so natural and endearing. Her smile was so genuine and we were close enough to see her lips form the words, "Thank you, thank you...

   One of the most memorable concerts which I attended...well, if any of you have ever seen Red Rocks Theater just out of Denver you can just imagine Jeanette walking across the huge stage with her gown wafting off behind her and the crowd giving her a magnificent ovation. She turns to them as she reaches the piano and everyone goes wild. The huge red stones forming a backdrop for the stage is filled with more of the audience sitting in the niches of the rocks. As the program continued, it began to rain. The audience was not about to leave and Jeanette held her hands out in front of herself with palms up and called out, "I don’t feel anything, do you?" And the program continued. As the program was coming to an end, a gentleman and a small child made their way across the stage to her. The man carried a large bouquet of red roses. She spoke to the two and placed a kiss on the cheek of the little boy. The man leaned over to get his smooch on the cheek. Jeanette shook her finger at him and they all, left the stage. Of course, there were more encores and everyone filed off the mountain and home. No doubt singing the praises of one Jeanette MacDonald and perhaps a few of the songs which remained in their heads.

     Can you imagine sitting next to Jeanette MacDonald at a dinner the MacRaymonds hosted for the club members who attended the first Clan Clave in 1962 ‘—and trying to eat? She had eaten at home before they came to be with the members at the Luau Restaurant, so she had time to tell me all about the Hawaiian food they served there. She teased about the food - some was quite hot and explained about some of the other dishes. We discussed some of the new films being shown around town. She said some were not the kind she would recommend. Leaning closer to me she confided that it was difficult for her to sit next to her husband when they saw EL CID I was embarrassed!!" She endeared herself to the group when she refused to sit in a chair with a higher back than those of the rest of us—as if she wasn’t already endeared to them. She even passed a piece of her jewelry around the group for each one to see. She spoke to the group and pictures were taken and everyone had a marvelous time.

   Then, there was the time I went backstage when she and Gene were doing THE GUARDSMAN in Kansas City. Oh, the show was great, but I like to remember seeing them with "Misty". Gene had taken the dog out for a walk and everyone knelt down better to pet their little jewel. Gene was so attentive. A little tail wagged and everyone patted—Jeanette hugged! What a lucky little dog.

     And that brings to mind our remembrance of Gene Raymond. Tessa and I spent so many happy hours with him when we were in California. I recall us sitting - each on either side of him —at lunch, with him putting his hands on ours and telling us how much these times meant to him and that we were like family to him. And it was so with us, too. We cannot tell you how much we miss him and Jeanette. They were a couple to whom we were very close—they shall remain in our hearts and memories forever. They were the best—they were The MacRaymonds!!

-- Clara Rhoades

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