Nelson Eddy: His Career in Music

Nelson Eddy. The tall, handsome baritone that sang his way into the hearts of millions during the 1930s and 1940s has lost none of the charm that brought him to stardom. Thanks to film and records, we can still enjoy his beautiful voice.

Though he is generally remembered for his work in films, Nelson Eddy had a successful career in Opera before venturing to Hollywood. He had already spent years traveling throughout the country on extensive Concert Tours and performed on various radio programs (including the Chase and Sanborn Hour with Edgar Bergen & Charlie McCarthy). After his Hollywood years, he again toured the country in a nightclub act that would become one of the most successful of its time.

Nelson Eddy sang and recorded many types of music. Although he is often remembered for Operetta classics, such as Stout-Hearted Men and Tramp, Tramp, Tramp, he sang everything from Grand Opera and Stephen Foster to what became known as his radio theme song, Shortnin' Bread.

Nelson Eddy: Lesser-Known Facts

Throughout his life, Nelson Eddy was known as a blonde. In reality, he sported a full head of beautiful grey-streaked, red hair! As a young man, he went on stage (in his first opera role) as a red-head and came off with silver-streaked hair. An attack of nervousness left him grey from his early twenties! This appeared blonde in photographs and on film.

L to R: Nelson playing tennis, Nelson sculpting, Nelson target shooting

In his spare time, Nelson Eddy enjoyed a variety of hobbies and sports, including target shooting and tennis. As he was such a fine horseman, he wrote several articles for the magazine, Equine. One of his lesser-known hobbies was sculpting. Several of his sculptures still existm and one actually appeared in his film, Phantom of the Opera. (It was a bust of Susannah Foster, his co-star and friend, that he had sculpted as a gift for her. She'd insisted that it appear in the film.)

Nelson & Susannah Foster in 'Phantom of the Opera' with the Sculpture

Nelson was fluent in a number of languages. During a 1935 interview, he admitted to having "a reading and speaking knowledge of English, French, German and Italian. I read Spanish, Russian, Yiddish and Latin haltingly, but I can sing in them."

Nelson Eddy Wearing Glasses

Nelson Eddy was severely far-sighted, a result of extensive reading for long periods and subsequent eye-strain. Off-camera (or offstage), he was always found in horn-rimmed glasses. Though this is a little-known fact, many photos of Nelson in his spectacles survive (above are just a few!).