(21 May 1941 - 15 April 1967) (divorced) (4 children)
While at the Millpond Playhouse in Long Island, Gordon met Sheila Margot Stephens, who was a young pretty blonde born in London, England. Gordon and Sheila did not immediately become friends because she thought he was too brash. Gordon continued to see Sheila whenever he could and they became very close. They were married on May 21, 1941 in Cleveland, Ohio. Frankie Carle played the wedding march and Larry Cotton sang “Ave Maria.” Horace Heidt gave Sheila away and he and his wife, Adeline, were best man and matron of honor. Sheila was seventeen, and Gordon was twenty. Gordon and Sheila would have four children: Meredith, born May 30, 1944, Heather, born Oct. 5, 1946, William Gordon, born February 11, 1948, and Robert Bruce, born April 6, 1954.
Gordon attributed his success to his wife, Sheila. In a Photoplay article called That Old MacRae Magic, Gordon told Elsa Maxwell, “I never could describe the help Sheila has been in my struggle for recognition as a singer and an actor. I was twenty when we married. I would not—I know it and Sheila must know it too—have made the same progress had I remained a bachelor. For me a young marriage was right.” This rosy picture left a lot unsaid. Many agreed that perhaps Sheila was too pushy, and her ambitions for Gordon created problems in both the marriage and within Gordon. Another problem was Sheila’s show biz ambitions for herself, which caused marital tension.
“Divorce Shatters Sheila & Gordon MacRae Marriage,” reported one newspaper. “After more than 20 years as one of Hollywood’s happiest married couples, with four children, Sheila and Gordon MacRae shocked the film capital by deciding to end their marriage in April of 1967. Sheila flew to Juarez, Mexico, and won an uncontested divorce. The divorce ended not only a marriage, but also one of the most successful comedy-singing acts in the field of entertainment. For many years, Sheila and Gordon had teamed up to create a top nightclub act, with Gordon handling the singing and Sheila contributing the comedy with her zany imitations of the great and near-great. But the act split up last fall when Sheila became a regular on CBS’s Jackie Gleason Show, which is taped in Miami, Florida. Gordon remained in Hollywood. And the marriage ended shortly thereafter.”
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