Today is Doris Day’s Birthday.
I’m not kidding. She is 97 years old today. If that doesn’t make you smile, I do not know what will.
I don’t know what kind of a person she was, or is. I only know that her movies used to make me happy when I was a kid.
Ninety-dang-seven. She was born in the same year as my Dad. But Doris came from good old Cincinnati, Ohio.
Her real name is Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff. For those of you who do not know who she is, Doris is an American actress, and a singer. If that were not enough, she is also a pretty big animal welfare activist. Among other things.
When she was starting out in this world, she didn’t really even know she could sing. She got in some kind of a car wreck and had a long recovery period. She was bored, just laying there. So she started singing with the radio. She figured it out pretty quickly that she could carry a tune. In a thimble, not a bucket. She would jam out on the radio with Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Tommy Dorsey, and more. But the person she most loved to sing with was the late and amazingly great Ella Fitzgerald. Doris said this about singing with Ella through the radio. “There was a quality to her voice that fascinated me, and I’d sing along with her, trying to catch the subtle ways she shaded her voice, the casual yet clean way she sang the words.”
It wasn’t long thereafter that she began her career as a big band singer. Once she got all healed up. That was in 1939. People around her knew she was good, so she made a recording. She laid down “Sentimental Journey” in 1945, and her career took off from there. When she started out, she was with bandleader Les Brown & His Band of Renown. I’m not sure of the year, but she decided to leave the band and go solo.
Never looked back, I suppose. She recorded more than 650 songs from 1947 to 1967. She was wildly popular.
She did way more than sing. She acted too. She had a really big flirty wholesomeness about her. Her first film was in 1948. It was called Romance on the High Seas. It turned out to be a huge success. From there she had a twenty year run in the movies. Lots of musicals, comedies, and few dramas. She played the title role in Calamity Jane (1953), and starred in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) with James Stewart.
She was most successful in the movies that they called “bedroom comedies.” Her leading guy, for the most part, was cutey Rock Hudson. They were in Pillow Talk (1959) together. But, she also co-starred with a bunch of different guys, including James Garner, Clark Gable, Cary Grant, David Niven, and more. Her final film was in 1968. After that, she did that TV thing with her CBS sitcom The Doris Day Show (1968–1973).
Since then, she has had some ups and downs. She’s had four different husbands. One of them bankrupted her. Her financials were a whole big messy part of her life there for a while.
And of course, she is a huge animal rights activist, having started many organizations over the years to help our furry friends.
These days, she lives in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. I always picture this place as having big square blocks of Brach’s Caramels on a Caramel Beach that looks out over the ocean. Sweet. Anyways, Doris. She has many pets and adopts stray animals like a cat lady. She is also a vegetarian, in case you are thinking about asking her over for dinner.
Happy Birthday to Doris Day. I hope she still sings.
In fact. I hope we all still sing. About our sentimental journeys.
“He who sings scares away his woes.”
“Those who wish to sing always find a song.”
― Swedish proverb
“If I cannot fly, let me sing.”
― Stephen Sondheim