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My great aunt was Jeanne Eagels’ understudy in the 1922 Broadway production of Rain.

I just looked it up and Jeanne Eagels had a sad end. She developed a taste for alcohol and ultimately paired it with heroin. By the end, she was also using chloral hydrate to sleep.


She keeled over one day while talking to her doctor – or, as we call it where I come from – up and died. She was 39.

Too late for my auntie to play the part, though.


I know it’s England, but GEEZ.

My auntie did alright for herself. She dated Fred MacMurray for a while, but eventually moved on to marry an obscenely rich man from one of the old fortunes.

Her daughter is younger than my dad. I’ve met her, but she never asked me over to Martha’s Vineyard. Huh.


Comment from Uncle Al
Time: November 21, 2022, 9:08 pm

Huh. We all have our vicarious claims to fame, it seems. When she was in college in the late 30s, my late Aunt Jean used to date Tennessee Ernie Ford.

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: November 21, 2022, 9:44 pm

My dad, brown hair, 6’4″, gray eyes, not even a smidge oriental looking, assured me he was a spy in Tokyo in 1944.

Okay, that wasn’t it, he CLAIMED he was related to Chuck Connors through some cousin thing.

Oh, and we had a tea cup that came over on the Mayflower!

And we’re part Passamaquoddy Indian, because I can’t grow a beard and I have high cheekbones and we have a family legend on my mother’s side.
I would like my job as a Harvard professor now, thank you.

Comment from Mitch
Time: November 22, 2022, 1:42 am

Fred MacMurray! Came across a story about him some time ago – seems he was VERY rich making money off of Hollywood real estate before everyone else got in on it. He was also extraordinarily cheap. During a lunch with a friend he was very crabby about a $50 plumber bill. Dude was worth many millions back when many millions was REALLY worth something.

Also, in the show My Three Sons he did most of his scenes away from the other actors and was rarely in shot with the rest of them.

Comment from BJM
Time: November 23, 2022, 3:47 am

@Uncle Al – in the 80’s I almost sold my house to Tennesse Ernie Ford. So we’re living in this hoity-toidy gated community on the Peninsula when opportunities beckoned from Europe…so we listed the house appt only.

Owners are not supposed to be home during showings, so I hid out in the maid quarters in the garage end of the house which was my crafts room. The realtors arrived with a tall thin diffident man, a snooty, overbearing Trophy Wife, and her even snootier interior desecrator in tow.

“Shees, pretentious much?” I thought. Then I heard a voice in the kitchen seeking coffee. I peeked around the corner and said ” I’d recognized that voice anywhere!” He beamed. I introduced myself and we grabbed a cup of coffee and returned to my crafts room. I told him how my Gran, Mom and I drove to SF monthly for his show. We had an excellent conversation until THE GROUP arrived. Trophy Wife was not pleased. He rose kissed my hand, winked and said “Thanks for the coffee Darlin'”…and sauntered out of the room, very pleased with himself. My realtor was also steamed. Fuck them. Trophy Wife wasn’t interested in the house…it wasn’t grand enough. I wouldn’t have sold it to her to anyhoo. Bitch.

Comment from blake
Time: November 29, 2022, 7:47 pm

There’s an odd coincidence for ya.

I’m reading Abe Burrows’ (librettos for “Guys and Dolls”, “How To Succeed In Business”, father of James) memoir and he just mentioned this production of “Rain”.

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