Robert George Ritchie was born around 1897 in Newark of English ancestry. He was a Wall Street representative when he met Jeanette MacDonald in 1928 at a swank New York party. She was the toast of Broadway at the time. Later Ritchie would become a Hollywood press agent and manager. He saw MacDonald's future in the movies. There were rumors that Robert Ritchie and Jeanette MacDonald were married in the early 1930s. In July 1929 MacDonald wrote him a letter referring to him as "my own darling husband." On the envelope she gave her return inititals as "JAR" (Jeanette Anna Ritchie). In 1931 MacDonald told friends that she was engaged to Ritchie. What is certain is that Ritchie and MacDonald were lovers during this time. He accompanied MadConald on her European cocnert tour in 1933 visiting France, Holland, and Spain. In France, MacDonald became the toast of Paris. Ritchie was always there by her side. Ritchie's nephew and a remaining family member claimed that the ghost marriage was annulled in 1935 in Hawaii. Through the rest of the 1930s MacDonald and Ritchie kept in touch only by correspondence even when she married Gene Raymond in 1937. Supposedly the relationship between them had been stormy. Robert Ritchie continued his Hollywood career as a press agent and manager until the 1970s. He never confirmed that he had ever been married to Jeanette MacDonald.
Jeanette MacDonald and Bob Ritchie circa 1931
Jeanette MacDonald and Bob Ritchie in Holland, 1933
Rex Theatre, Paris 1933