I'll See You Again, Volume 1: The War - and Before – The Bittersweet Love Story and Wartime Letters of Jeanette MacDonald and Gene Raymond
For years, Jeanette MacDonald and Gene Raymond were touted as one of the happiest couples in show business. Their friends called them the MacRaymonds and they adopted the nickname themselves. Although they co-starred in only one film, Smilin’ Through (1941), they often worked together, touring for five months in the play The Guardsman (1951), and appearing on numerous radio and television shows. Columnists noted how the couple spoiled each other and how affectionate they remained over twenty years after their wedding. From the Raymonds’ June 16, 1937 wedding, when a reported fifteen thousand fans lined up in front of the church, until Jeanette’s January 14, 1965 death, when her last words to her husband were “I love you,” their lives sounded like a romantic fairytale. They each admitted that marriage had to be worked at and that they didn’t always get along. In Jeanette’s unpublished autobiography, she wrote candidly about problems that they had after the war, when both were struggling with their careers and adjusting to changes in the entertainment industry, as well as the country. However, they persevered and remained together for over twenty-seven years, until Jeanette’s death.
In the 1970s, rumors began circulating that the Raymonds’ happy marriage was a sham. Stories spread about Jeanette having a secret thirty-year affair with her frequent co-star, Nelson Eddy, and questioning Gene’s sexuality, with unsubstantiated evidence to support them. Many incidents where Jeanette and Nelson allegedly were together have been disproved, as the stars could not have been in two places at once. Books, blogs, and web sites quoted letters that few people, aside from one author, had seen. Private conversations were reported that only someone hiding under the bed, or in the closet with a tape recorder, could repeat. Many off-screen “Jeanette and Nelson” sightings were really Jeanette and Gene sightings, since fans, and even newspapers, often confused the two actors because of their Jeanette connection and the fact that they slightly resembled one another. Still, the myths are perpetuated, and, in the twenty-first century, these fantasies are more prevalent than the truth on mainstream web sites and in print. Maggie McCormick sets the record straight In I'll See You Again: The Bittersweet Love Story and Wartime Letters of Jeanette MacDonald and Gene Raymond. Each of the three volumes includes quotes from personal correspondence, interviews, and various drafts of Jeanette's unpublished autobiography, as well as photos from the Raymonds' personal collection.
Volume 1: The War - and Before traces the lives of Jeanette and Gene, from their modest beginnings through their meeting, marriage, and their activities during World War II. It shows how they each worked hard to gain worldwide fame, found love, and created an idyllic home together. Always patriotic, both Raymonds gave their all during World War II, both overseas and on the home front, but to the detriment of their marriage and careers. The picture on the cover was from the Raymonds’ last photo shoot before Gene was sent overseas in 1942.
About Maggie McCormick (Cincinnati, Ohio Author)
Cincinnati native Maggie McCormick was interested in theater and old movies from a young age. Always inquisitive, when she became a fan of a celebrity, she set out to learn all she could about the star, spending hours reading and doing research at the library.
After studying theater and journalism at the University of Cincinnati, McCormick parlayed her hobbies into a career as a magazine writer. She contributed articles to many publications on old movies, theater, and doll collecting.
In 2011, McCormick became interested in Jeanette MacDonald, reading all she could about the actress/singer. McCormick was surprised to find conflicting information about MacDonald's marriage to actor Gene Raymond and her relationship with her frequent co-star Nelson Eddy in many books and web sites. While trying to find out the truth, McCormick gained access to private letters, as well as several drafts of MacDonald's unpublished autobiography. The result was the three-volume set of books I'll See You Again: The Bittersweet Love Story and Wartime Letters of Jeanette MacDonald and Gene Raymond, published by BearManor Media.