Doris Day was a star from the moment she entered mainstream consciousness. The bouncing blonde with uncontrollable optimism fascinated America after the war as a chanteuse of the big band era, before gaining unquenchable fame in Hollywood as the healthy girl next door. The camera loved her and the audience was insatiable for her sweet, sunny mood, which obscured the reality of her tragic private life, marked by aching loneliness and unhappiness.
Born in 1922, Kappelhoff's Doris Mary Anne – the legend on screen who became known worldwide for her stage name – died this morning at the age of 97 in her California home in the Carmel Valley.
Day dedicated her years to animal care. Carmel Valley's neighbors on her 11-acre estate are reminiscent of the rare sighting of an eccentric woman they knew when Clara Kappelhoff shuffled the streets collecting stray cats and dogs – the retired and shy woman wearing glasses and horn-rimmed glasses far from the silver siren that fascinated Americans as the "next-door girl".
As a young girl Doris Day had the dream to become a professional dancer. At the age of 15 she moved to Los Angeles with her mother and dance partner from suburban Cincinnati, Ohio, when she won the top prize of $ 500 in a dance competition. Daydreams were shattered when her right leg was shattered in a car accident caused by a passing train. This was what she wrote in her 1976 autobiography about the terrible moment when she got out of the car and dragged herself to the side of the road. She examined her leg and said her fingertips hit the sharp ends of the broken bones sticking out of my leg.
Doris Day has over 650 song titles in her catalog and has starred in 40 films. She has been awarded the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and the President Medal of Freedom. In 2012 she was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame
Doris Day made her debut in Hollywood in 1948 with Romance on the High Seas. She beat Judy Garland, who was originally cast on the role after impressing two Warner Brother executives during an improvised vocal performance at a Hollywood party
Doris Day married her second husband, saxophonist George Weidler, on March 30, 1947. The couple lived in a trailer park in Los Angeles and divorced after three years. When Doris remembered her wedding day, she said, "I should have worn black."
Doris caught the attention of Les Brown (not pictured), who wanted to give her jazz orchestra a feminine voice. At the time, she was only 16 years old and Brown lied about her age so she could perform in the nightclubs. He convinced her to shorten her name to Doris Day so that he would fit in with the Marquis and record a series of music hits together
Day's determined stage mother enrolled her in her singing lessons during her recovery, where she proved a natural talent and spent countless hours listening to jazz greats like Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington. During this time, Day got a small dog named "Tiny" to heal her from the trauma, but Tiny's life was tragically interrupted after he was hit by a car when Day (still on crutches) killed him she wandered around neighborhood without leash. In her autobiography by A. E. Hotchner titled "Doris Day: Her Own Story," she said, "For me, it was the beginning of a lifelong love affair with the dog."
Her career in show business began in 1939, when she attracted the attention of Les Brown, an American jazz band leader who was looking for a singer for his orchestra. Together, they recorded a handful of hits before Day embarked on a solo career that would be four decades long. The day was an overnight success and in the 1950s she was one of the highest paid singers in America after having added more than 650 songs to her catalog.
A threefold threat that could sing, dance and act, it was only a matter of time before Day came to the screen after impressing some Warner Brother executives in a spontaneous performance of "Embraceable You" at a Hollywood party would have . She won the starring role in Romance on the High Seas and then started her career in Tinseltown with more than 40 titles. Performers include Frank Sinatra, Clark Gable, Rock Hudson, Carey Grant and James Cagney.
Day's success on the big screen has not been translated to her private life. Behind the healthy, sunny facade was a vulnerable woman plagued by uncertainty and catastrophic judgment in men. She wrote in her book, "My only real ambition in life was to marry and look after the house and have a family." Unfortunately, it was exactly this dream that has always escaped the day.
Doris Day, Frank Sinatra (center) and Lauren Bacall (right) posing in 1956 at the Sands Hotel Casino Las Vegas. In 1954, Day starred alongside Frank Sinatra in the role of Young at Heart
Born in 1922 in Cincinnati, Ohio, Doris Mary Anne von Kappelhoff separated from her parents at a young age. Day's father was a music teacher and a rigorous disciplinarian, engaging in a range of affairs, one with his wife's best friend. According to a biography written by David Bret, Doris would hear her having sex in the room next to her and crying for sleep.
Doris Day was not shy to admit that her healthy girl next door was an act. In her biography, she wrote, "I'm tired of being considered Miss Goody Two-Shoes. I'm not the All-American Virgin Queen, and I want to deal with the true, honest story of who I really am. & # 39;
James Cagney starred with Day in Love Me Or Leave Me. Cagney said that Day "had the ability to project the simple, direct message of a simple, straightforward idea without overloading it".
Film studios worked desperately to preserve Day's bubbly blonde facade, but behind closed doors she was known for her insatiable appetite for men. Co-star Oscar Levant once said: Oscar Levant, "I knew Doris Day before she was a virgin"
At age 19, she was first married to Al Jorden, a trombonist with a fierce temperament. Day claimed that Jorden beat her for the first time on the second day of her marriage after accepting a wedding gift from his bandmate and the physical abuse had not stopped since that day. He tried to persuade Day to get an abortion after becoming pregnant with his child. When that failed, he threatened her with a gun and a couple of cruel beating before Day finally divorced him one year later. At the age of 20, Day gave birth to her only son: Terrance Paul Jorden, later a famous music producer by the name of Terry Melcher. Jorden committed suicide a year later.
Doris' second marriage to saxophonist George Weidler also ended in divorce after three years because he was intimidated by her ascending star status and said he did not want to be named "Mr. Doris Day. & # 39; The couple lived in a trailer park in Los Angeles and remembered their wedding day with Weidler.
Between the marriages, Day enjoyed the company of numerous famous men, notably the infamous womanizer Mickey Mantle. She met the famous baseball player in 1962 in That Touch of Mink. In his biography of Doris Day, author David Kaufman said, "Mantle bragged about friends who had not only slept with Day in his regular suite at New York's St. Moritz Hotel, but also that she was an accomplished lover."
Just as they had done to hide Rock Hudson's homosexuality, the studio's managers worked hard to preserve Day's unspoiled, healthy image. In fact, the sunny-haired innocent girl who became America's favorite was known behind the scenes for her insatiable sexual appetite. Doris said to Hotchner, "I'm tired of being considered a Miss Goody Two-Shoes … I'm not the All-American Virgin Queen, and I want to deal with the true, honest story of who I really am. " Likewise, her longtime girlfriend Rock Hudson, with whom she spent countless hours on the screen, said, "I suppose she was so neatly cut, with flawless teeth, freckles, and a nose up, people just thought she'd fit the concept a virgin. & # 39;
Likewise, Oscar Levant, Day's co-star in Romance On the High Seas, jokingly commented on her good girl's image: "I knew Doris Day before she was a virgin."
Day married her manager Martin Melcher for the third time in 1951, who officially adopted Day's son Terry from her first marriage. Her 17-year marriage bliss was marked by numerous affairs. Day continued a relationship with Ronald Raegan, whom she remembered in her autobiography as a gifted dancer who loved to go out with a strong ability to express herself through language. She also had an affair with Steve Cochran, who was with Joan Crawford at the time. For the most part, Day said she was happy, "I seemed to have found the solid, quiet life I was looking for." Her reality collapsed when Melcher died in 1968 and discovered she wasted $ 20 million in her fortune and left her with $ 500,000 in debt. Dazzled by the betrayal, Day began to shun her career in public and direct her attention to her son and her beloved animals.
Despite the astronomical success in Hollywood, Day could not find lasting love. Her first marriage to Al Jorden (right) ended in divorce after a year of physical abuse. Her third marriage to Martin Melcher ended when he died in 1968 – after wasting $ 20 million in her fortune, she was bankrupt and $ 500,000 in debt. Rock Hudson recalled his distrust of Melcher: "… working with Doris once again meant defending against her husband Marty Melcher. This time, Marty figured out himself as executive producer of the film and reassembled his $ 50,000 fee for performing invisible services. I neither liked nor trusted Melcher and avoided him as much as possible. & # 39;
Day married in a fourth marriage to Barry Comden, an eleven-year-younger man whom she met while working as Maitre D & # 39; s at their favorite restaurant. They divorced in 1981 when Comden said his wife was more concerned about her "animal friends" than her relationship
Day and Rock Hudson played together in a series of comedies in the 1950s. Day supported Hudson after his AIDS diagnosis became public at a time when the disease was surrounded by hysteria
Despite a life of setbacks and grief, there is a tragedy that Doris Day has barely avoided. In 1969, her only child, Terry Melcher, was a rising star in the music industry, known for discovering and promoting the talents of the Byrds, Mamas, Papas, and Beach Boys. It was in 1969 with Candice Bergen, Hollywood's youngest inventor, when the young couple moved into a house in Benedict Canyon on 10050 Cielo Drive. Through his friendship with Dennis Wilson of The Beach Boys; Melcher made friends with Charles Manson, who wanted to complete a record deal. Melcher visited Manson at least twice at his infamous Spahn Ranch, and the three men were often spotted in party nightclubs in Los Angeles. But it did not take long for Melcher to realize that Manson had no musical talent, and in June 1969 he told the cult leader that he would not sign him for a record deal. The indignation over the rejection was the last straw for Charles Mansion, who decided to avenge himself on society.
Afraid of Manson's volatile behavior, Doris Day pleaded with her son to move from Cielo Drive House to the Malibu Beach home she owned. It was an easy decision for Melchner, who had recently learned that his stepfather had broken his mother in death and the move would help her financially.
Late on the evening of August 8, 1969, four members of the Mansion Family marched into Sharon Tate's tenement on 10050 Cielo Drive, killing Tate, her unborn child, and three of her friends in a false identity case. Melcher, who died of cancer in 2005, stepped into seclusion and hired bodyguards around the clock. He could testify only with great calm in court. After hearing about the killings, Bergen allegedly told Melcher, "I could have been." Melcher replied, "We could have been."
In 1976, Day met her fourth husband, Barry Comden. He was 11 years younger than her and worked as a maitre d & # 39; in her favorite restaurant, and Comden quickly realized that the way to Day led to her passion for dogs, for which he reserved many leftovers from the restaurant. It was predictable that this marriage would not last, and what happened afterwards was described in his memoir: "I sat on the edge of the bed while she took a quick shower. On an impulse, I opened the shower door. She let out a scream and for the first time I looked at the most beautiful body I had ever seen. & # 39; The two began a stormy relationship that lasted five years.
Doris Day poses for a photo with her only child, Terry Melcher. Like his mother, Melcher was a famous musician known for his work with The Byrds, The Mamas, The Papas and The Beach Boys. It is reported that Melcher was Charles Manson's intended victim on the night he murdered Sharon Tate
Drew Casper, a US film professor, told the Los Angeles Times: "Every woman wanted to be Doris Day, and every man wanted to marry someone like her."
At the time, Day was heavily invested in animal welfare organizations such as The Doris Day Animal League and merged with the Humane Society of the United States, the largest animal welfare advocacy group in the US. Day moved to a large area in Carmel to accommodate her growing brood of four-legged rescue workers she called her children. "
Comden said his wife was more interested in her "animal friends" than in her relationship, which ended in 1981.
Doris Day dedicated the rest of her life to animal rights. The Doris Day Animal League, merged with the Humane Society, has since become the largest animal rights advocacy group in the US
Jim Bailey, the famous impersonator, remembered Vanity Fair when he first met Doris Day in 1972. He was at a Hollywood party and noticed someone falling asleep on the sofa in the living room. "She did not have make-up. Her hair was not blond. It was a kind of rinse-water blonde, and she had it in one twist. She was wearing a paisley-patterned grandma dress with a small lace collar, lace cuffs, and misshapen to the ground. He remembered that this day had not talked much until she heard him talking to another guest about his schnauzer, when Suddenly she called to spend the rest of the evening talking to Bailey about animals. A few months later, Bailey met Day's son Terry Melcher at another party and mentioned the delightful interaction with his mother, to which Terry replied, "She probably would not have talked to you if you had no dogs. Now it's all about animals. "
During a 1991 television documentary entitled "Doris Day: A Sentimental Journey," Day burst into tears when the pregnant interviewer said, "You just do not understand it, do you?" It was not a dream come true. All I ever wanted is what you have right now, a baby, a husband who really loved me, a home, all the happiness they could bring. I never got that and that's all I really wanted. & # 39;
Day found solace in the company of animals, she wrote in her book titled "Doris Day: Your Own Story": "I've found that there are things one gets from the silent, devoted company of a dog when one deeply troubled. " You can not get from any other source. & # 39;
In 2008, Day received a Grammy Award for her life's work for her remarkable career in music. Maybe the lyrics to her own hit "Que Sera" speak best for Doris Day's unexpected life, which is characterized by ups and downs. She sings: & # 39; Whatever will be, will be, the future is not ours to see. Que sera. & # 39;