Did Doris retire too early?

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gerard
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Re: Did Doris retire too early?

Unread post by gerard »

I do not think Doris left show-biz because she felt past her prime. She made a half-hearted attempt to get along with the Harold Robbins crowd and .... it was not her, and ... she was no longer driven, as in the past. Once she had the essentials and a way out of Hollywood, she took it. She was freed from obligations and dependencies, 5am mornings, and found it easier to just settle in to a less hectic life, as a zoologist :lol: .

Viva la Doris.
"As long as its show business, I'm happy." One of these days, I am going to quit smoking these things.

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Re: Did Doris retire too early?

Unread post by littlepinetree »

We may miss Doris in the movies and miss her singing, but I don't think she retired too early at all.
She was a professional singer at age 17. She toured a lot at such a young age. She was already in her 20's when she became a movie star, but she was a singing star long before then as a teenager. So retiring after the Doris Day show was wise because she had a looong carer starting at 17 years old.
Retiring when she was still popular is a good thing. I feel sorry for Julie Andrews that her voice will never be the same again and she got booed during her concerts. People can be so cruel and I'm glad we all remember Doris Day's work when she was still a young and going strong. She will never have to go through what Julie Andrews had to go through. Doris says she did the right thing by retiring when she did, so that's all that matters.

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Re: Did Doris retire too early?

Unread post by mikeydv »

How many times have we seen someone...years later...do a performance when we say to ourselves: they should have retired a long time ago!
I am thinking of:
1. Kay Starr in the Tv Show (on PBS), MAGIC MOMENTS, when she "tried" to sing
"Wheel of Fortune" Very sad.
2. Frank Sinatra when he did the "Duets" albums late in his career. Very sad.
3. Andy Williams recently performing in Branson, Mo. Very sad.

On the other hand, there are:
1. Vic Damone who stopped performing in 2001 when he felt his voice had reached
its peak. He left on a high note. Everyone wanted more.
2. Then there is Doris. She left again at a career peak. Certainly she could have gone
on acting and singing, but she did neither. And we are still clamoring for her
return. What she did was the smart thing. About her money and her men, Doris
was not always too bright. About her performance, she always was.

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Re: Did Doris retire too early?

Unread post by howard »

Well said, Mikey! So true. I shudder when I hear singers I once admired no longer at their peak. I won't mention names, but it's really sad to see. DD was very wise in that way!
Like Irene Dunne done.

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Re: Did Doris retire too early?

Unread post by littlepinetree »

I was saying how sad it was about Julie Andrews, and another name on the sad list is Connie Frances.
I always loved her voice but after her nervous breakdown she was never the same. Very sad.

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Re: Did Doris retire too early?

Unread post by lovemeorleaveme »

Another person whose voice is just not what it used to be, is Whitney Houston. Her recent attempts at a comeback have indeed been sad to watch. I've always loved Whitney--I bought her recently released album--and it's so apparent that she has lost her range, and that amazing vocal power for which she was so well-known. I am certainly pulling for her--I pray she is able to get her life back together and find true happiness (because she seems, to me, to be a very sad person).
Even the most talented person (our Doris included) loses the ability to sing/project, etc., if he/she doesn't keep the diaphragm and vocal chords in shape. The talent is always there, but the ability is not. I have a hunch that Doris' work for the animals hasn't left her much time to exercise her diaphragm and vocal chords; and I have a feeling that she finds her work for the animals to be much more important and fulfilling than singing/performing.
As I said, it's just a hunch....LOL
It does make one wonder just what we Doris fans have missed; but HOW THANKFUL I AM that we have access to her past work (movies and recordings)!!!
Did Doris retire too early?? Only Doris can answer that.....
Just my "two-cents'-worth"!! :)
I hope you're all having a lovely "Day"!! :)

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Re: Did Doris retire too early?

Unread post by littlepinetree »

lovemeorleaveme is 100% right about this.
As a vocal coach since 1977, I sure have seen this happen in many singers. You are using a muscle when you sing just like any other part of the body and the voice can be over used or under used.
It is a known fact that singing is the hardest instrument!

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Re: Did Doris retire too early?

Unread post by TCMMovieFan »

I think that Doris' career lasted for as long as it possibly could. Her films after GLASS BOTTOM BOAT were not very good though it was not her fault. She was highly professional and still turned out fine performances in less than stellar material. The movie industry had changed and had she somehow managed to hold on in the movies - that would have required her to make several changes. She probably would not have been given anymore starring roles and might have had to make the switch to character parts as with so many from her generation. No doubt she could have been fine but it would have not been the same Doris that brought her so much world wide fame and admiration.
She was never much into LIVE performing so she could not have gone the same route as DEBBIE REYNOLDS who has managed to extend her career through her act in VEGAS and elsewhere. I think that Doris had stage fright so nightclubs and/or shows in front of an audience is not something she would have relished.
As for recordings - well her type of music was considered passe by the time she stopped recording. She tried her hand at more contemporary material but I am not convinced that this material was her true metier.
She had a good 5 year run with her TV sitcom but the program did run its course and she was wise to let the show expire.
She had those 2 TV music specials but by the time she did the final one in 1975 - TV variety shows were being phased out by the networks. Tony Orlando & Dawn were canceled around that time while Carol Burnett opted to pull the plug on her 11 year TV variety show in 1978.
So there really would not have been too many good venues left for Doris.
I agree with those in this forum that are saddened when they hear their favorite singers past their respective primes. My stomach sank when I heard PERRY COMO in poor vocal condition during his final TV program - CHRISTMAS IN IRELAND back in 1993. Its been years since I last heard Andy Williams. Tony Bennett may have had a career renaissance but I cannot enjoy his singing at this late stage. Rosie Clooney's heavy smoking made her singing at the end very tough to appreciate when she made her PBS appearances. Her lung capacity was greatly diminished and she almost always sounded winded. Even the great Ella Fitzgerald sounded absolutely worn at the end of her singing days.
We do need a fresh new batch of talent in the mode of a DORIS DAY but I think those days are gone for good.

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Re: Did Doris retire too early?

Unread post by webmaster »

I suppose entertainers have a natural sell-by date (except Tony Bennett, who still seems to be in good voice, oh, and Mickey Rooney, who will probably never retire while he's alive!) but Doris was only in her early forties when she hung up her acting hat (I don't consider The Doris Day Show 'acting' - more a way of paying off her debts and making enough to retire on).

Doris was a very good actress as she showed in films like Love Me or Leave Me and many others and she could have reached a whole new level without having to sing a note. I'm thinking of actresses (in the UK) like Helen Mirren (65) and Judy Dench (76), both still going strong and winning awards. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that they are 'character actors' who fit into a part and become it and Doris was mostly a 'personality actor' who retained her star persona in most of her films - which were often Doris Day 'vehicles' - although in many films, Teacher's Pet, Please Don't Eat the Daisies (if you take out the songs), she did submerge her personality into the role. The Doris Day Show was, naturally, ALL about her personality and name.
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Re: Did Doris retire too early?

Unread post by mikeydv »

A couple of second thoughts on this topic, if you bear with me...

1) MOVIES......Doris knew very well what her fans expected of her in the movies. What we liked was definitely passe'. Doris knew that...She also knew her last couple of films were NOT the Doris Day her fans knew and loved. Personally, I thought she was BRILLIANT in "Eggroll"....but it was a different kind of role for her, and I just don't think her fans were ready to accept that. Trust me...Doris knew it. And no matter what, she was NOT going to do anything vulgar. Character parts....no way....we fans would have hated that. Betty White may be good, but I wonder how much of that is degradation.

2) RECORDINGS....Doris made SEVERAL attempts in her singing career there at the end to "blend in with the times". The "LOVE HIM" ALBUM was certainly current, with covers of hits that were riding the charts when the record was released. Funny....Billboard lists the album briefly at around #98 in the Top 100 Albums, while CASHBOX says it hit the Top 40. Who to believe? Anyway, that was one of the attempts. The other was LATIN FOR LOVERS, concurrent with the bossa nova craze. Did that chart...no. Then she did DORIS DAY'S SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY (going back to the old ones, with a new version). Again....NO. Not even the album of songs with the kids, WITH A SMILE AND A SONG, made the top charts. Her last few singles were rarely heard...anywhere. She probably thought: WHY BEAT A DEAD HORSE? Yes....she went into the studio to record THE LOVE ALBUM (which was lost...evidently not important to her at the time), or her record studio either, for that matter. The A & R (production dept) at Columbia (Mitch Miller and Company) was also too busy promoting newer talents (La Big Mouth Streisand) to be concerned with Doris any more.

3) TV.....So she had to do The Doris Day Show for various reasons. She did it. It was TOP 10 for 5 years. Then...goodbye. She saw the writing on the wall. People were tiring of Doris Day Comedy. And she was getting tired of doing it.
The one hour specials.........FABULOUS....both of them...and well rated. Why not do others? Because when she did DORIS DAY TODAY (in 75)..she had completed all her commitments, had recouped her lost earnings, paid off her debts, and SHE WAS TIRED. She wanted a well deserved break. 1939-1975...a long time to be performing.
The one year BEST FRIENDS cable show....she did that to get exposure for her Animal Activist Causes...and it worked. Objecive/Goal achieved. Done.

4) BOOKS.....yes, she wrote her autobiography, she promoted it, it was a best seller. She said everything she wanted to say. Done.

5) ANIMAL ACTIVISM....that is her concern now...and I would say it occupies a good 70 percent of her time. She certanly has not tired of that, and she is making life better for animals all over the world...daily.
The other 30 percent? Well..you know she gets three large bales of fan mail daily. And Doris has always obsessed about responding personally to her fan mail. Problem: She is no longer able to handle it all, so she needs help when she can get it. Even when she has help with the writing, I am sure she insists on reading every piece of mail and responding, even if someone else is typing or writing the response. How about sleep? Yes..how about that??

Doris has done more than her share. She is a wonderful lady, who has given us the better part of her life for many years. Instead of thinking she retired early (she moved on to something else...she never retired), let her be happy just doing what she likes to do every day. SHE IS A JOY FOREVER.

Barbara

Re: Did Doris retire too early?

Unread post by Barbara »

doris-day-fan: If Marty had lived, I wonder how long Doris would be working after her 5 years at CBS? He seemed to always push her into things - with or without her knowledge. Just curious. In reality, she gracefully bowed out of show business and then full speed into her passion, animal welfare
I think God intervened on Doris' behalf, in taking Marty, If Marty had lived she would never been able to recover all her losses, so sad the way he let all her money she worked so hard for get away, but she bounce back like the tropper she is, God Bless you DD. Barb

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Re: Did Doris retire too early?

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Welcome to the forum, Barb.

I'm not sure how much longer the deception by his business partner Jerome B. Rosenthal could have gone on - not much longer, I suspect. (and don't forget that Rosenthal was found guilt of mismanaging Melcher's money as well.) I think Doris & Terry would still have taken him to court and Doris would have made her own decisions about how to replete her missing savings, as Debbie Reynold did when she discovered her husband, businessman Harry Karl, had gambled all of hers away and she then signed up to play at Las Vagas and developed her own show, which soon put her back in the black.

DORIS DAY WINS $22 MILLION:
The next morning’s expanded report refers to Olson having criticized Melcher “for remaining in ‘blind awe’ of Rosenthal.”
http://www.metnews.com/articles/2007/pe ... 100907.htm
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Re: Did Doris retire too early?

Unread post by Bixby »

While the mystery of her walking away from Hollywood still remains, I think we all forget how difficult of time that must have been for her. She lost her husband of 17 years, her music was no longer in style, her movies were no longer in style and of course all of her financial woes that were caused by her late husband and she was alone. It seems most people in their 40's face similiar circumstances with their jobs, marriages, etc, but for her it seem to hit all at once, but she dealt with it with grace only as Doris can and has moved on to happier times. She is a good example for all of us and I wish the world would step up and take notice rather than trying to disparage her! It seems society today doesn't even recognize good when it happens! Everyone on this forum excluded of course!! ha ha

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Re: Did Doris retire too early?

Unread post by webmaster »

and of course all of her financial woes that were caused by her late husband
Actually that is not true, it was mostly by his business partner Jerome B. Rosenthal .
She is a good example for all of us and I wish the world would step up and take notice rather than trying to disparage her!
Actually, again, 'the world' loves her very much and only a few cranks put her down. There are very few people in this world who are as highly regarded and as well liked as Doris Day.
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Re: Did Doris retire too early?

Unread post by Bixby »

Yes, but Marty had to give Rosenthal the authority to manage their empire.

And yes, you are right, it is a small percentage that bring about the negativity and I must learn to ignore it. It seems Doris does that very well. Unfortunately, I guess she has had a lot of practice. She is just a very positive person and it has carried her far.

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Re: Did Doris retire too early?

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Yes, but Marty had to give Rosenthal the authority to manage their empire.
True but, as stated, Marty was criticized at the hearing “for remaining in ‘blind awe’ of Rosenthal” so he was taken in also. Rosenthal was a smart, if crooked, lawyer and like, more recently, Bernie Madoff, managed to relieve a lot of people of their money before being exposed.
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Re: Did Doris retire too early?

Unread post by Bixby »

Yes, they were both naive it appears and easy targets.

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Re: Did Doris retire too early?

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I believe that Kirk Douglas and Gordon and Sheila MacRae also lost money through Rosenthal's 'investments'.
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Re: Did Doris retire too early?

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I have heard about Kirk Douglas. There are scam artists out to get everyone I guess.

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UK Character Actresses !

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Webmaster - you made a good point. I notice that there are any number of top quality actresses from the UK - the Mirrens, Denches, etc, that have managed to maintain their film careers past a certain age and distinguish themselves with any number of fine performances.
Hollywood - for me, at least - is a rather strange place. They have not really accorded many of their 'veterans' with the same amount of professional respect. They might hand a few of them an occasional small role and/or bring some of them out onstage during the OSCAR ceremonies so they can bow and smile. There is really not much to Hollywood these days - even their sense of accomplishment has been greatly diminished.
As a result I do not bother with any of today's movies. I hasten to add that I am not even a 'senior' !

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PBS & DD !

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How many of you in this forum have been able to watch those recent PBS music specials in which the few remaining singing stars of the past appear and sing their hit tunes ?
I personally have quite ambivalent feelings about this matter. Speaking as a resident of the USA - let's face it - the American Popular Standard song has virtually vanished from the airwaves, TV, the movies, and elsewhere. In my area - we no longer even have any honest-to-goodness record stores. I guess one has to go online to Amazon and/or Ebay to track down CDS of the old favorites but today's generation in the USA ( I can only speak for the USA because I am told that the musical situation in the UK, parts of Europe, Australia, etc. is somewhat different !) know little of a Doris Day or a Perry Como. Its a known fact that the BING CROSBY & PERRY COMO societies are based in the UK. In fact, the PERRY COMO is run by a young lad - Matthew Long by name - who is doing a terrific job in keeping alive the legacy of MR. C. Sorry folks, but there is not the same effort taking place here in the USA. Here we discard our beloved old talents as if they were a worn-out pair of shoes ! Sorry to be so bold.
So these PBS specials are the only remnants that we have of the old talents.
That being said - it is very sad to see these people totally past their vocal prime desperately attempting to salvage their uniqueness and I am truly rooting for them every step of the way. Some have fared better than others - PATTI PAGE & GOGI GRANT both have somehow managed to retain the magic. Debbie Reynolds still looks glamorous and there is still plenty of 'show' left in this woman. We should tip our collective hats to the late Frankie Laine who at 92 - with cane in hand - tried his best with THAT'S MY DESIRE and still was able to pull off a respectable job.
Yet some of the others - I wonder if its the lack of vocal activity on their part ? Too many skipped years perhaps ? Doris attempted a vocal comeback of sorts on her DORIS DAY & FRIENDS program in the 1980's. She looked wonderful but did not sound as well. She obviously had not sung in quite awhile and was gingerly trying to briefly revive her singing. There was much caution and I detect a slight bit of unsteadiness. A singer does need to hum a bit or at least 'let out their voices' even when they are not performing professionally to keep the voice muscle active and to be able to stay afloat.

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Re: Did Doris retire too early?

Unread post by Doris Martin »

mikeydv- I admire you very much...you have put down so wonderfuly the real truth about our dear magic Doris...thank you

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Re: Did Doris retire too early?

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"She also knew her last couple of films were NOT the Doris Day her fans knew and loved. Personally, I thought she was BRILLIANT in "Eggroll"....but it was a different kind of role for her, and I just don't think her fans were ready to accept that."

This statement is incorrect. "Eggroll" was one of DD's top ten high-grossing films. It was obvious that she still had a tremendous following, and after her tv series, she had been offered roles in a number of highly regarded films. It was simply that Doris became more heavily involved in animal issues, and she no longer had the strong desire to continue in films and recordings. If she had so desired, I think her film career would have continued for quite some time.
Like Irene Dunne done.

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Re: Did Doris retire too early?

Unread post by paul »

Howard - I completely agree with you. She was brilliant and so natural in "Eggroll" and the millions who flocked to the theatre to see it loved it.

I saw it 54 times (a bit obsessive I know) and would hang around in between showings and listen to the comments. There were some who didn't want her playing a middle-aged mother, but they were in the minority. It was the best attended Doris Day film since "Move Over, Darling" and won the Box Office Magazine Award as Film of the Month (September, 1968) an honor based on a film's popularity with the public, critics and theatre owners.

Doris could have continued doing movies well into the 70's had she wanted and there was certainly continued interest into the 90's. She moved her life into a new direction with the animals and it clearly brought her happiness and satisfaction on many levels.

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Re: Did Doris retire too early?

Unread post by mikeydv »

Doris could have continued doing movies well into the 70's had she wanted and there was certainly continued interest into the 90's. She moved her life into a new direction with the animals and it clearly brought her happiness and satisfaction on many levels.

I am so glad you responded, Paul. I know you have seen Doris many times over the past fews years and talked to her..so if anyone would know FOR SURE it would be you, at least those of us who are on the forum. I get the occasional notes and letters...but you know how that goes. She never really "bears her soul" in a short note. She tells everyone she is very happy and enjoying her life as it is. I hope that is true.

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