One of America's most prolific actresses was born Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her parents divorced while she was still a child and she lived with her mother. Like most little girls, Doris liked to dance. She aspired to become a professional ballerina, but an automobile accident that crushed a leg ended whatever hopes she had of dancing on stage. It was a terrible setback, but after taking singing lessons she found a new vocation, and began singing with local bands. She met trombonist Al Jorden, whom she married in 1941. Jorden was prone to violence and they divorced after two years, not long after the birth of their son Terry. In 1946, Doris married George Weidler, but this union lasted less than a year. Day's agent talked her into taking a screen test at Warner Bros. The executives there liked what they saw and signed her to a contract (her early credits are often confused with those of another actress named Doris Day, who appeared mainly in B westerns in the 1930s and 1940s). Her first starring movie role was in Romance on the High Seas (1948). The next year, she made two more films, My Dream Is Yours (1949) and It's a Great Feeling (1949). Audiences took to her beauty, terrific singing voice and bubbly personality, and she turned in fine performances in the movies she made (in addition to several hit records). She made three films for Warner Bros. in 1950 and five more in 1951. In that year, she met and married Martin Melcher, who adopted her young son Terry, who later grew up to become Terry Melcher, a successful record producer. In 1953, Doris starred in Calamity Jane (1953), which was a major hit, and several more followed: Lucky Me (1954), Love Me or Leave Me (1955), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) and what is probably her best-known film, Pillow Talk (1959). She began to slow down her filmmaking pace in the 1960s, even though she started out the decade with a hit, Please Don't Eat the Daisies (1960).
Her husband, who had also taken charge of her career, had made deals for her to star in films she didn't really care about, which led to a bout with exhaustion. The 1960s weren't to be a repeat of the previous busy decade. She didn't make as many films as she had in that decade, but the ones she did make were successful: Do Not Disturb (1965), The Glass Bottom Boat (1966), Where Were You When the Lights Went Out? (1968) and With Six You Get Eggroll (1968). Martin Melcher died in 1968, and Doris never made another film, but she had been signed by Melcher to do her own TV series, "The Doris Day Show" (1968). That show, like her movies, was also successful, lasting until 1973. After her series went off the air, she made only occasional TV appearances. Today, she runs the Doris Day Animal League in Carmel, California, which advocates homes and proper care of household pets. What else would you expect of America's sweetheart?
Doris Day was born in Cincinnati to German Catholic parents. She had two brothers, Richard, who died before she was born and Paul, a few years older. Her father and mother divorced when she was about ten. At fourteen, she formed a dance act with a boy, Jerry Doherty, and they won $500 in a local talent contest. She and Jerry took a brief trip to Hollywood to test the waters. They felt they could succeed, so she and Jerry returned to Cincinnati with the intention of packing and making a permanent move to Hollywood. Tragically, the night before she was to move to Hollywood, she was injured riding in a car hit by a train, ending the possibility of a dancing career. She discovered that she could sing, and at age 15 (but saying she was 18) began touring with the Les Brown Band, where she met trombonist Al Jorden, whom she married. Jorden turned out to be a temperamental and physically abusive husband and, soon after the birth of her son Terry in 1942, she initiated divorce proceedings. In 1946, after touring with bands, radio work, and entertaining the troops with Bob Hope, she met and married George Weidler but this union lasted only eight months. In 1948, she made her first film, Romance on the High Seas (1948), at Warner Brothers. She met Martin Melcher, who became her manager and later, on her 29th birthday, her husband. In 1958, her brother Paul died and around this time, her husband started to make her sign to do films that she did not want to make. This eventually led to her becoming ill from nervous exhaustion. By the time Martin Melcher died in 1968, Doris discovered she was millions of dollars in debt. She learned that Melcher had squandered virtually all of her considerable earnings, but she was eventually awarded $22 million by the courts in a case against a man that Melcher had unwisely let invest her money. She married for the fourth time in 1976 and since her divorce in 1980 has devoted her life to animals.IMDb Mini Biography By: <email@example.com>
|Barry Comden||(14 April 1976 - 2 April 1982) (divorced)|
|Martin Melcher||(3 April 1951 - 20 April 1968) (his death)|
|George Weidler||(30 March 1946 - 31 May 1949) (divorced)|
|Albert Paul Jorden||(17 April 1941 - 8 February 1943) (divorced) 1 child|
Theme song: "Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)", which she introduced in the 1956 film, The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956).
Her youthful appearance.
She and her son Terry Melcher (along with a partner) co-own the Cypress Inn in Carmel-By-The-Sea, California, a small "Hotel California-esque" inn built in a beautiful Mediterranean motif.
According to her autobiography, she got the nickname Clara Bixby when Billy De Wolfe told her, on the Tea for Two (1950) set, that she didn't look like a "Doris Day," but more like a "Clara Bixby." To this day, that remains her nickname among a close circle of old friends, such as Van Johnson.
Rock Hudson called her 'Eunice' because he said that whenever he thought of her as Eunice, it made him laugh.
She is referenced in the song "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" by pop band Wham!, a single that hit Billboard's #1 in 1984.
When her husband and manager of 17 years, Martin Melcher, died suddenly in April of 1968, she professed not to have known that he had negotiated a multimillion-dollar deal with CBS to launch "The Doris Day Show" (1968) the following fall. After an abbreviated period of mourning, she went ahead with the series, which ran successfully for five seasons.
It was during the location filming of The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), when she saw how camels, goats and other "animal extras" in a marketplace scene were being treated, that Day began her lifelong commitment to preventing animal abuse.
She is also referenced in the song, "We Didn't Start The Fire", by Billy Joel.
Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald L. Smith. Pg. 133-134. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387
Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George W. Bush [June 2004]. She did not attend the White House award ceremony because of her intense fear of flying.
Referenced in the song "Dig It" by The Beatles.
Referenced in the song "Wrap Her Up" by Elton John.
In order to make a political statement regarding the platform of the Canadian Alliance Party, in 2000 Canadian Satirist Rick Mercer launched an attempt to hold a national referendum on the question of whether or not Stockwell Day should be forced to change his first name to "Doris". Within days he had the required number of signatures under the Alliance Parties current platform to launch a federal referendum. Doris, according to her publicist, was amused by this.
Was named the top box-office star of 1963 by the Motion Picture Herald, based on an annual poll of exhibitors as to the drawing power of movie stars at the box-office, conducted by Quigley Publications.
Her son Terry Melcher had rented the house at 10050 Cielo Drive in Bel Air, California, at which Sharon Tate and her friends were murdered by the Manson Family. On March 23, 1969, Charles Manson had visited the house looking for Melcher, a music producer and composer who had worked with The Beach Boys, Bobby Darin and The Byrds. The house was now sub-leased by Tate, and her photographer told Manson to leave by "the back alley," possibly giving Manson a motive for the later attack. Melcher had auditioned Manson for a recording contract but rejected him, and there was a rumor after the murders that Manson had intended to send a message to Melcher, a theory that police later discounted.
When Sandra Dee died in 2005, Day and Annette Funicello became the last living American cinema sweethearts mentioned in the popular song "Look At Me, I'm Sandra Dee", from the movie Grease (1978). Other sweethearts mentioned--Troy Donahue and Rock Hudson- died in later years following the release of the film.
Premiere Magazine ranked her as #24 on a list of the Greatest Movie Stars of All Time in their Stars in Our Constellation feature (2005).
Reportedly did not like "swear words." As a recording artist, she would require anyone who said a swear word to put a quarter in a "swear jar." In addition, she does not allow her songs to be used in movies that contain swear words.
Has often cited Calamity Jane (1953) as her personal favorite of the 39 films she appeared in.
Her mother named her after her favorite silent film star, Doris Kenyon. By coincidence, in the mid 1970's when Day wrote her autobiography, Kenyon was her neighbor on Crescent Drive in Beverly Hills.
Her great-niece Pia Douwes is also a critically acclaimed actress.
Referenced in the song "Dirty Epic" by Underworld.
Has a 1982 hit song by the hugely popular Dutch 80s ska-pop band Doe Maar named after her.
Son Terry Melcher was born February 8, 1942. She named him after the character in a comic strip she loved as a little girl, "Terry and the Pirates". Sadly, he passed away of cancer on November 19, 2004.
Her only UK appreciation club is called 'Friends of Doris Day' and is based in Oxford UK.
She lived for years in the star-laden Crescent Drive at 713 Crescent. Her good friend Louis Jourdan lived just across the street at 714.
She is a staunch supporter of the Republican Party, and told the press she voted for George W. Bush in the 2000 presidential election.
Telephoned the White House to personally explain to President George W. Bush her reasons for not attending her award presentation in June 2004, and said she was praying hard that he would be elected to a second term of office in November.
In Germany Edith Schneider dubbed her voice in most of her films.
She is referenced on every chorus of Ringo Starr's last top 40 release in 1999, "La De Da".
A close friend and vocal supporter of President Ronald Reagan.
Was a two-and-a-half pack a day smoker until about 1951.
Briefly dated Ronald Reagan shortly after his divorce from Jane Wyman when she and Reagan were contract players at Warner Brothers. Day told him that he was so good at talking that he should be touring the country making speeches. At the time, the future Republican President was a Democrat.
Has a fear of flying that stemmed from tours with Bob Hope in the 1940s that resulted in some close calls in impenetrable winter weather. She almost turned down her role in Alfred Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) because it was to be filmed in London and Marrakesh. Her husband and manager, Martin Melcher talked her into accepting it.
Performed two songs in films that won the Academy Award for Best Original Song: "Secret Love" from Calamity Jane (1953) and "Que Sera, Sera" from The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956). Introduced four songs that were nominated: "It's Magic" from Romance on the High Seas (1948), "It's a Great Feeling" from It's a Great Feeling (1949), "I'll Never Stop Loving You" from Love Me or Leave Me (1955) and "Julie" from Julie (1956).
Her father was William Kappelhoff, a music teacher and choral master in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her mother was Alma Sophia Kappelhoff.
Her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is at 6735 Hollywood Blvd.
She has two Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 6278 Hollywood Boulevard and for Motion Pictures at 6735 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
Went to the same Cincinnati ballroom dance studio as a child as Vera-Ellen. Their parents used to carpool together to the dance studio.
Her dreams of a dancing career were dashed when a car accident on 13 October 1937 badly damaged her legs. She spent most of her teenage years wheelchair-bound and during this time began singing on the radio.
The film The Children's Hour (1961) was constructed with both Day and Katharine Hepburn as the two leading ladies. However both actresses backed out due to scheduling conflicts and as a result Shirley MacLaine was cast in Hepburn's role and Audrey Hepburn was cast in Day's role.
In 1976, Doris married Barry Comden, 12 years her junior. They met at the Beverly Hills Old World Restaurant where he was the maitre d'. In the 1970s, Comden opened an Old World restaurant in Westwood and supervised the construction of another restaurant, Tony Roma's, in Palm Springs. It was Comden who came up with the idea for a line of pet food that would feature Doris' name. Doris Day Distributing Co. unraveled mainly because of a pyramid-type scheme that the couple had been unaware of. They lived in Carmel but Comden complained that Day preferred the company of her dogs more than him and they divorced in 1981.
Her first marriage at age 17 to trombone player Al Jordan, whom she met while both were performing in Barney Rapp's band, was extremely unhappy. They divorced within two years amid reports of Jordan's alcoholism and abuse of the young star. Despondent and feeling his life had little meaning after the much publicized divorce, Jordan later committed suicide.
While performing for a local radio station, Doris was approached by band leader Barney Rapp. Rapp felt that Doris's name, Kappelhoff, was too harsh and awkward and that she should change her name to something more pleasant. The name "Day" was suggested by Rapp from one of the songs in Doris' repertoire, "Day by Day." She didn't like the name at first feeling that it sounded too much like a burlesque performer.
She was scheduled to present, along with Patrick Swayze and Marvin Hamlisch, the Best Original Score Oscar at the 61st Annual Academy Awards (March 1989) but she suffered a deep leg cut and was unable to attend. She had been walking through the gardens of the hotel she owns when she cut her leg on a sprinkler. The cut required stitches.
Received a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement in 2006.
Oscar Levant quipped, "I've been around so long, I knew Doris Day before she was a virgin".
Has one grandson; Ryan Melcher (b. May 1983).
Underwent a hysterectomy during the filming of Julie (1956) after being diagnosed with a tumour the size of a grapefruit that was growing into her intestines.
Ex-mother-in-law of Jacqueline Carlin.
Tinseltown folklore insists she was "discovered" by director Michael Curtiz when she sang at a Hollywood party in 1948. At the time, Curtiz was seeking a singer/actress to replace Betty Hutton, who had become pregnant and had to back out of Romance on the High Seas (1948) which Curtiz was to direct.
The happiest times in my life were the days when I was traveling with Les Brown and his band.
Gratitude is riches. Complaint is poverty.
Some of the downbeat pictures, in my opinion, should never be made at all. Most of them are made for personal satisfaction, to impress other actors who say 'Oh, God! what a shot, what camera work!' But the average person in the audience, who bought his ticket to be entertained, doesn't see that at all. He comes out depressed.
I like joy; I want to be joyous; I want to have fun on the set; I want to wear beautiful clothes and look pretty. I want to smile and I want to make people laugh. And that's all I want. I like it. I like being happy. I want to make others happy.
Learning a part was like acting out the lyrics of a song.
[on recording "Secret Love" for the movie Calamity Jane (1953)]: When I first heard "Secret Love" I almost fainted, it was so beautiful. When we finally got around to doing the pre-recording, Ray Heindorf, the musical director at Warner's, said he'd get the musicians in about 12:30 so they could rehearse. That morning I did my vocal warm-up, then jumped on my bike and rode over to Warner's - we lived in Toluca Lake at the time, which was just minutes from the studio. When I got there I sang the song with the orchestra for the first time. When I'd finished, Ray called me into the sound booth, grinning from ear to ear, and said, "That's it. You're never going to do it better." That was the first and only take we did.
[recalling her only pleasant memories of Julie (1956)] Almost all of "Julie" was shot on location in Carmel, which is a lovely resort town a little south of San Francisco. My co-star was Louis Jourdan, whom I liked very much. An amiable man, very gentle, very much interested in the people around him; we had a good rapport and I found talking to him a joy . . . We would take long walks on the beautiful Carmel beach, chatting by the hour.
If there is a Heaven I'm sure Rock Hudson is there because he was such a kind person.
[on Rock Hudson] I call him Ernie, because he's certainly no Rock.
[on Ronald Reagan] Ronnie is really the only man I've ever known who loved dancing.
[on Cary Grant] A completely private person, totally reserved, and there is no way into him.
The succession of cheerful, period musicals I made, plus Oscar Levant's widely publicized remark about my virginity, contributed to what has been called my 'image', which is a word that baffles me. There never was any intent on my part either in my acting or in my private life to create any such thing as an image.
[during the re-election campaign of President George W. Bush] I'm pulling for him every step of the way.
[In her 1975 autobiography] You don't really know a person until you live with him, not just sleep with him. Sex is not enough to sustain marriage. I have the unfortunate reputation of being Miss Goody Two-shoes, America's Virgin, and all that, so I'm afraid it's going to shock some people for me to say this, but I staunchly believe no two people should get married until they have lived together. The young people have it right. What a tragedy it is for a couple to get married, have a child, and in the process discover they are not suited for one another! If I had lived with Al Jorden for a few weeks, God knows I would never have married him. Nor would I have married George Weidler. But I was too young and too inexperienced to understand any of this. Now my heart was busted and I had lost my way.
[about Elizabeth Taylor's diamonds] When I see Liz Taylor with those Harry Winston boulders hanging from her neck I get nauseated. Not figuratively, but nauseated! All I can think of are how many dog shelters those diamonds could buy.
Doris now lives in Carmel, CA and actively works for the Doris Day Pet Foundation
(June 2008) Today at 86, she runs the Doris Day Animal League in Carmel, California which advocates homes and proper care of household pets.
(1976) Release of the book, "Doris Day: Her Own Story" by A.E. Hotchner.
(2000) Release of the book, "Doris Day: The Biography" by 'Michael Freeland'.
(2001) Release of the book, "Doris Day: The Illustrated Biography" by 'Michael Freeland'.
(January 2007) Special interview for the book "Que Sera Sera The Magic of Doris Day Through Television" by Pierre Patrick and Garry McGee. Published by BearManor Media.
(2008) Release of the book, "Doris Day: The Untold Story of the Girl Next Door" by David M. Kaufman.
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