Have you ever seen the 1933 movie Design for Living?
You should, it’s a classic Pre-Code movie about a ménage a tois arrangement directed by the great Ernst Lubitsch and starring Gary Cooper, Fredric March and Miriam Hopkins, based on a play by Noel Coward.
The singing duo from the previous BI were in such an arrangement in real life with a B-list actor who was the long time boyfriend of the male half of the duo.
Ironically, these three tried to get a remake of that same film made in the early 1940s but were immediately shot down by the studio brass and the Production Code. The female singer was literally forced into a fake marriage with the actor after he and the male singer were busted by the cops at a raid at a gay club with quite a few underage men in attendance.
The male singer was let go and his arrest expunged thanks to the studio fixers but the actor wasn’t so lucky.
He was blackballed for several years and didn’t make a single movie for about two years.
Oh, there were other times he was arrested for cruising, including one time overseas when he was serving in WWII, but unlike his first arrest those were swept under the rug.
During this time he began to drink heavily and began beating his new “wife” regularly.
One time, his boyfriend (the male singer) confronted him about it and fists began flying.
The gossip columns said that the actor was drunk and fell down the stairs, which obviously wasn’t the case.
If you’re wondering who the female singer was seeing romantically during this time, it was the boss of her studio, who was very much married.
Eventually, the male singer married a woman soon after the female singer did.
He and the actor still continued to see each other up until the male singer’s death.
By the way, the actor paid all the funeral bills for the male singer and his family, because the singer did the same for him when the female singer passed away several years before.
Later in his life, whenever he was asked about the male singer he usually deflected to how great his marriage to the female singer was, so on and so forth.
So there really wasn’t any great love affair between the two singers, as many want you to believe.
Singing Duo: Jeanette MacDonald, Nelson Eddy
B- list actor: Gene Raymond
Boss of her studio: Louis B. Mayer
Male singer’s wife: Ann Denitz Franklin