Doris Day: a talent for living
In 1968, after 25 years in Hollywood making 39 films, a five-year TV series and hundreds of recordings, Doris Day gave it all up and walked away aged 49. Anyone who’s followed her career will not have been surprised by that. She was never addicted to the limelight – as much as she loved making films she also maintained that, “Work was work, and when I wasn’t at work, I didn’t think about it”. No doubt there were a few special films that she did think about when she was ‘off duty’ but, generally speaking, that was her attitude.
She had learned to move easily through life, following her varied career from unknown band singer to top recording film and TV star. Her son Terry Melcher said, “My mother is very good at moving on” and gave as one example, “As soon as she felt her voice had passed its peak, she stopped recording. She just got to the stage where she felt there were others who had taken the spotlight and she didn’t think her music was relevant anymore”.
It must have been clear to her that her film career had also passed its peak. Then nearly 50, she was too mature for the romantic comedies she’d been making and she didn’t want to play parts such as Mrs Robinson in The Graduate, which she was offered and turned down, considering it vulgar. She was probably also aware that it might not have been well received by some of her huge fan base – many of whom thought that her image-breaking role in Love Me or Leave Me was a bit risqué at the time.
Doris Day has always had a close relationship with her fans and still devotes time to answering fan mail and keeping in touch with some she’s known for years. She feels a responsibility to them for what she has created – the performer Doris Day, who has inspired such love, devotion and loyalty. Or as Lloyd K Jessen put it, the Reel Doris Day compared to the Real Doris Day. Although, you could say that, at this stage, there isn’t much in it, and both parties are happily living together as one.
In 1981 Doris left Hollywood for the coastal town of Carmel, California – a place she fell in love with while making the film Julie on location there in 1956. This time, she did something personal, based on her long-held affection for animals, particularly dogs, and set up the Doris Day Animal Foundation (DDAF), which has improved conditions for animals throughout the US and in 50 other countries.
“I enjoyed my career and had a great time working in Hollywood,” Doris said. “But after decades of non-stop films, recordings and television, the time seemed right to start a new chapter – concentrating on my animal welfare work.” Continue reading…
The Films of Doris Day is an unofficial fan website and a collaborative effort with other Doris Day fans. Many of the films mentioned have links to where you can find more information on them or buy the DVDs, a small percentage of which will go towards supporting this website.
Bryan James – webmaster @ dorisday.net
Special thanks: Judy Rigdon, Ralph McKnight, Paul E Brogan, Howard Green, Michael Hadley, Lloyd K Jessen, Lauren Benjamin, Derald Hendry, Puck Groeneweg, Gonzalo Gamboa III and David Kaufman
Thanks also to other members of The Doris Day Forum:
Ania, Cranhill, Dayniac, Dave, Diane, Dominique, Dorine, Doris Day Fan, Doris Martin, Alan Moore, Flower, heckyeahdorisday, Jake Iverson, Jas, Jbeane, Johnny, Ken, Megan, Mikeydv, Nada, Peter Flapper, Ray Lyons, Rennie, Renny, Scooter, Sinem, Toby Martin, Tybear, and many others.