But it's Jeanette MacDonald's birthday today and since she and Lubitsch are inextricably linked, I just have to stop here and tell her hello.
She was a discovery of Lubitsch's, don't you know. Actor Richard Dix had seen her on the Broadway stage in 1928 and had her make a screen test for Paramount, but nothing came of it until Lubitsch happened upon it a year later and immediately saw her star potential. He flew to Chicago where she was working and signed her to star in his first sound production, The Love Parade with Maurice Chevalier. The picture was a hit, she was a hit and the rest is history.
MacDonald made four movies for Lubitsch, The Love Parade (1929), Monte Carlo (1930), One Hour With You (1932) and The Merry Widow (1934), each better than the last. For those of you who only know her through her later work with Nelson Eddy, I strongly suggest you track down these musicals, and one other, Love Me Tonight, a Rouben Mamoulian musical in the Lubitsch style. She's beautiful and sexy and is allowed to show a naughty side you never get to see again once the studios began to enforce the Production Code in late 1934.
Born in Philadelphia in 1903, MacDonald began acting at the age of six and was winning singing contests by the age of thirteen. After her successful association with Lubitsch at Paramount, Irving Thalberg lured her MGM where she became known as the Iron Butterfly thanks to her skill at negotiating favorable contracts.
She's best remembered now for her association with singer Nelson Eddy. They made eight pictures together, including Naughty Marietta, Rose-Marie and Maytime. She also made San Francisco with Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy, which includes a spectacular recreation of the 1906 earthquake.
A weak heart forced MacDonald into semi-retirement in the 1950s, although she did occasionally perform with Eddy. She died of a heart attack in 1965.
Trivia: MacDonald's sister Blossom, who performed under the name Marie Blake, played Grandmama on the television show The Addams Family.