I'll See You Again, Volume 2: The Letters – The Bittersweet Love Story and Wartime Letters of Jeanette MacDonald and Gene Raymond
Actress/singer Jeanette MacDonald and actor Gene Raymond had idyllic lives, with careers they loved, a beautiful home in Bel Air, and millions of adoring fans. Like many other families, the Raymonds' lives were disrupted during World War II. In January 1942, shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Gene was one of the first celebrities to enlist. He served in England and the United States as an Intelligence Officer, rising to the rank of Major before being separated from the Army Air Force after the war ended in 1945. Jeanette put aside her film career to tirelessly entertain the troops and build up morale on the home front. Throughout the war, she sang at camps, hospitals, and the Stage Door and Hollywood Canteens, sold bonds, raised money for wartime charities, and appeared on numerous AFRS broadcasts, all while continuing her recital and concert career, appearing on commercial radio programs, and training for and making her opera debut.
Volume 2: The Letters is made up of transcriptions of correspondence written during World War II, giving an insight into Jeanette and Gene’s everyday lives. Their wartime letters are touching, full of tenderness, concern, humor, and, occasionally, passion - when they could avoid the censors by having friends transport their correspondence. They shared their mundane every day experiences and asked each other for advice. One can tell that they respected each other, as well as loved each other. Like all couples, they didn’t get along 100% of the time. They were human and it is that human side that is so endearing.
Not every piece of wartime correspondence survived. Some were more than likely lost in the mail during the war, a fact that both Raymonds addressed in their letters. Others disappeared during moves or were ruined by water damage during their years in storage. More of Gene’s letters to Jeanette survived since he had limited space in his wartime footlocker to save all of hers. The cover shows Jeanette at home, with a photo of Gene in uniform on her desk, along with the American and British flags. While Gene was serving, she proudly displayed his picture and talked about his service in numerous interviews. As Gene’s letters prove, he was equally proud of Jeanette’s service on the home front. The letters appeal to anyone interested in Old Hollywood or World War II. The book includes photos from the Raymonds' private collection.
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.