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Day was born Doris Mary Ann von Kappelhoff in Evanston, Ohio to German immigrants. The second of two children, she was named "Doris" after silent movie actress Doris Kenyon, whom her mother liked. Her family was Catholic, despite her parents' divorce. She later embraced Christian Science.
Doris Day (born April 3, 1924) is an American singer, actress, and animal welfare advocate. A vivacious blonde with a wholesome image, she was one of the most prolific actresses of the 1950s and 1960s.
Day started out as a dancer, winning a contract that enabled her to travel to Hollywood with her partner, Jerry Doherty, in 1936, but turned to singing when she injured her leg in an auto accident in 1937.
She sang with the big bands of Barney Rapp, Bob Crosby, and Les Brown, before setting out on her own in the late 1940s. It was Barney Rapp who convinced her that "Kappelhoff" was too awkward a name and suggested "Day" after the song "Day after Day" that was part of her repertoire. She never really liked the name Doris Day, thinking it sounded too much like a stripper; this was ironic, since she eventually became associated with a nearly opposite image of wholesomeness and innocence.
With Brown, she charted 12 popular music hits, among them her first two # 1's: "Sentimental Journey" and "My Dreams Are Getting Better All the Time". "Sentimental Journey" earned her a flood of letters from World War II GIs. She admitted coming to hate singing "Journey", but never tired of reading the letters. On her own, she had more # 1's, including "Secret Love".
Day acted in many films, in most of which she sang. In Alfred Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much, she sang "Que Serб, Serб", which won an Oscar. "Que Serб, Serб" (Spanish for "What Will Be, Will Be") became her signature song, and was covered by Sly & the Family Stone in 1973.
Day began her film career in 1948 as a peppy, Betty Huttonesque persona. She continued to make saccharine and somewhat low-level musicals such as Starlift, By the Light of the Silvery Moon, and Tea for Two for Warner Brothers until the cycle exhausted itself. In 1955, she received some of the best notices of her career for her portrayal of singer Ruth Etting in Love Me or Leave Me, co-starring James Cagney. She continued to be paired with some of Hollywood's biggest male stars, including James Stewart, Cary Grant, David Niven, and Clark Gable.
In 1959 Day entered her most successful phase as a film actress with the hugely popular Pillow Talk co-starring Rock Hudson, who became a lifelong friend. The film received positive reviews and was a box office favourite. It also brought a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Actress for Day.
She and Hudson made two more films together. Many of her 1960s films ignored her singing abilities and painted her as a good-hearted woman with a strong will, a hint of naпvetй, and the purest virtue this side of a nun.
Times as well as attitudes changed, but Day's films did not. Critics, comics and pundits attacked Day as "the world's oldest virgin" and audiences began to shy away from her repetitive, gimmicky roles. Day herself found many of her mid-late 1960s films to be of very poor quality and did them only at the insistence of her third husband, Marty Melcher. One of the roles he turned down for her was Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate (a role that went to Anne Bancroft).
Upon Melcher's death she learned that he had committed her to a TV series. From 1968 to 1973, she therefore starred in her own situation comedy, The Doris Day Show. Its theme song was "Que Serб, Serб". Day continued with the show only as long as she needed the work to help pay down her debts.
Though generally presenting a happy, carefree image to the public, she had four difficult marriages:
1. To Al Jorden, a trombonist whom she had met when he was in Barney Rapp's band, from March 1941 to 1943. Her only child, Terry, was born in this marriage, but Jorden was physically abusive.
1. To George Weidler, (a saxophonist), from March 30, 1946 to May 31, 1949. Weidler never could accept the fact that his wife would become a bigger star than he, and they broke up after eight months. Weidler and Day met again years later and he helped her become involved in Christian Science.
1. To Marty Melcher, whom she married on her 27th birthday, April 3, 1951. This looked like a happy marriage, and lasted much longer than her first two. Melcher adopted Terry (thus becoming Terry Melcher), and also produced many of Day's movies. However, when he died in 1968 it turned out he had been spending her money without restraint, leaving her bankrupt, and owing thousands. Her money difficulties continued for a number of years after his death, she ultimately returned to financial security. Day also later revealed that Melcher had physically abused Terry.
1. To Barry Comden, from April 14, 1976 to 1981. Comden was her only husband outside show business.
In 1972 the name of Doris Day was included in one of the songs of the famous musical Grease side by side with the name of Sandra Dee as an example of overly sentimental and righteous person.
In 1985 Day hosted her own talk show, Doris Day's Best Friends. The show generated unexpected press when her old friend Rock Hudson appeared in the first episode. Day was taken aback by Hudson's emaciated and wizened frame, as he had always been in top physical condition. Soon after, she and the world learned that he was dying of AIDS. Day stood by his side.
In 1987, she founded the Doris Day Animal League, and she currently devotes much of her time towards the cause of helping animals.
She wrote a best-selling autobiography, Doris Day: My Own Story.
In 2004 she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom but refused to attend the ceremony because of a fear of flying. In November 2004 her son Terry died from complications of melanoma.
She is part-owner of the Cypress Inn in Carmel, California, where pets (dogs and cats) are welcome.
"A Guy Is A Guy"
"Anything You Can Do"
"Any Way the Wind Blows"
"Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered"
"But Not For Me"
"By The Light Of The Silvery Moon"
"Confess" (duet with Buddy Clark) (also done by Patti Page)
"Cheek To Cheek"
"Dream A Little Dream Of Me"
"Everybody Loves A Lover"
"Everybody Loves My Baby"
"Hernando's Hideaway" (bigger hit done by Archie Bleyer)
"Hooray For Hollywood"
"If I Give My Heart to You" (also done by Denise Lor)
"I'll Never Stop Loving You"
"I'm An Indian Too"
"It All Depends on You"
"It's a Great Feeling"
"It Takes Time"
"Just One of Those Things"
"Love Me or Leave Me"
"Love Somebody" (duet with Buddy Clark)
"Lullaby of Broadway"
"Move Over, Darling"
"My Darling, My Darling" (duet with Buddy Clark)
"My Young and Foolish Heart"
"Once In A While" (bigger hit for Patti Page)
"On Moonlight Bay"
"Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps"
"Put 'em in a Box, Tie 'em with a Ribbon"
"Singin' in the Rain"
"Someone Like You"
"Tacos, Enchiladas and Beans"
"When I Fall in Love"
"Whatever Will Be, Will Be" ("Que Serб, Serб")
"You Are My Sunshine"
"You Do Something For Me"
Romance on the High Seas (1948)
My Dreams Is Yours (1949)
It's a Great Feeling (1949)
Young Man with a Horn (1950)
Tea for Two (1950)
The West Point Story (1950)
Storm Warning (1951)
Lullaby of Broadway (1951)
On Moonlight Bay (1951)
I'll See You in My Dreams (1951)
Starlift (1951) (Cameo)
Screen Snapshots: Hollywood Night Life (1952) (short subject)
The Winning Team (1952)
April in Paris (1952)
By the Light of the Silvery Moon (1953)
So You Want a Television Set (1953) (short subject) (Cameo)
Calamity Jane (1953)
Lucky Me (1954)
Young at Heart (1954)
Love Me or Leave Me (1955)
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
The Pajama Game (1957)
Teacher's Pet (1958)
The Tunnel of Love (1958)
It Happened to Jane (1959)
Pillow Talk (1959)
Please Don't Eat the Daisies (1960)
Midnight Lace (1960)
Lover Come Back (1961)
That Touch of Mink (1962)
Billy Rose's Jumbo (1962)
The Thrill of It All (1963)
Move Over, Darling (1963)
Send Me No Flowers (1964)
Do Not Disturb (1965)
Every Girl's Dream (1966) (short subject)
The Glass Bottom Boat (1966)
The Ballad of Josie (1967)
Rowan & Martin at the Movies (1968) (short subject)
Where Were You When the Lights Went Out? (1968)
With Six You Get Eggroll (1968)
1949 You're My Thrill
1950 Young Man with a Horn (w/ Harry James) (soundtrack)
1951 Lullaby of Broadway (soundtrack)
1951 On Moonlight Bay (soundtrack)
1951 I'll See You in My Dreams (soundtrack)
1953 By the Light of the Silvery Moon (soundtrack)
1953 Calamity Jane (soundtrack)
1954 Young at Heart (soundtrack) (w/ Frank Sinatra)
1955 Love Me or Leave Me (soundtrack)
1956 Day By Day
1957 The Pajama Game (soundtrack) (w/ John Raitt and cast of film)
1957 Day By Night
1958 Hooray for Hollywood Vol. 1
1959 Hooray for Hollywood Vol. 2
1959 Cuttin' Capers
1960 What Every Girl Should Know
1960 Show Time
1961 Bright and Shiny
1961 I Have Dreamed
1962 Duet (w/ Andre Previn)
1962 You'll Never Walk Alone
1962 Billy Rose's Jumbo (soundtrack) (w/ cast of film)
1963 Annie Get Your Gun (w/ Robert Goulet)
1963 Love Him
1964 The Doris Day Christmas Album
1964 With a Smile and a Song
1965 Latin for Lovers
1965 Doris Day's Sentimental Journey
1967 The Love Album (released in 1994)
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