“The best time I’ve ever had was making comedies with you.” Rock Hudson to Doris Day
Hollywood legend Doris Day has passed away aged 97. Most people know of Doris Day in a hazy kind of way. A gifted actor, singer and dancer, she was amongst the last of the survivors of the Golden Age of Hollywood. Younger people don’t seem to have heard of her, most probably due to the fact that she has been mostly out of the spotlight for over 40 years. So to put you in touch with this amazing woman and her incredible life, here are just a few facts you may not have known.
Born in 1922 in Ohio of German immigrant stock.
The only woman ever to be Number One at the movie Box Office and the music charts at the same time. Yes, that’s right. Ever.
She made 39 movies and 29 albums. From 1947-1967 she recorded 650 songs for Columbia.
She photographed better than most, because her face was covered with a microscopically fine downy hair which was a gift to cinematographers, endowing her image with an subtle “glow” when lit for the camera.
By her early 20s she was the highest paid female entertainer in the world.
Doris’s singing career happened due to a car crash. Originally trained as a child dancer, she was devastatingly injured whilst a teenager in a car/train crash which left one of her legs multi-fractured, which took many months to repair. During this time she took to singing and another talent was discovered.
A band singer from the age of 16, her recordings were multi million-sellers.
Showcased for the movies in 1948, aged 25, by the legendary director Michael Curtiz (Casablanca, Mildred Pierce, Robin Hood, etc) in her first Technicolor movie “Romance On The High Seas”, later retitled “It’s Magic” after her million-selling song included in the film.
Voted Top Female Box Office Attraction every year from 1960-1964.
Her leading men included Rock Hudson, James Cagney, Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra, Clark Gable, Jack Lemmon, James Garner, James Stewart, and many more.
Her favourite role was as tormented 20s torch singer Ruth Etting in MGM’s LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME (starring with James Cagney- she got top billing), in which she combined singing, dancing and great dramatic acting.
Although Oscar-nominated, Doris never won an Academy Award. An honorary Lifetime Achievement Oscar was offered several times; Doris politely declined.
Since 1973 Doris had retired from public life in order to focus her attention on animal welfare, creating her own foundation as well as tirelessly fundraising to help animal rescue organisations across America, with a special focus on older animals.
Amongst her many awards were 7 Golden Globes, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004 (the highest civilian honour the US can bestow) and a Grammy for Lifetime Achievement in 2008.
Doris was a very public supporter of her dear friend and co-star Rock Hudson during his final months and demise from AIDS in 1985, while the rest of old Hollywood turned their backs.
Thank you for all the authentic joy you have brought into this troubled world, Doris. You will not be forgotten.
If you’d like to know more about the films of Doris Day, the best site you can find is here
In Memory of Doris, she asked that anyone wanting to remember her could donate to the Doris Day Animal Foundation, a link to which is here