Posted on April 3, 2019 at 11:50 am
One of the 20th century’s greatest and — yes — most versatile performers is Doris Day, who celebrates her 97th birthday today. Born Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff in Cincinnati, Ohio, her first dream was to be a dancer, until she was injured in an automobile accident. So, she became a singer, and her version of “Sentimental Journey” became a huge hit. By then, a bandleader told her to use the last name “Day” after the song “Day by Day.”
Songwriters Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne recommended her for a movie musical, “Romance on the High Seas,” where she played an outspoken young singer impersonating a society lady on a cruise ship. She introduced the song, “It’s Magic.”
The three comedies she made with Rock Hudson made her one of the most beloved stars of the 1960’s.
She was a fine dramatic actress, and won an Oscar for the biopic about singer Ruth Etting, “Love Me or Leave Me.”
Nobody gets mad better than Doris Day.
Her song “Secret Love” in “Calamity Jane” won that year’s Oscar.
And she is excellent as the neurotic wife in Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Man Who Knew Too Much.” She sang “Que Sera Sera” in that film, and it became a huge hit.
Sometimes dismissed in the early days of the women’s equality movement as a relic of the 50’s, today we recognize her for portrayals of strong, independent, professionally successful women, even in her comedies like “Pillow Talk” and “Lover Come Back” and the musical “The Pajama Game.” An essay by Molly Haskell in an early issue of Ms. Magazine was the first to claim her as a feminist icon.
Miss Day has not made a film since 1968, but her song “Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps” memorably appeared in Baz Luhrmann’s “Strictly Ballroom.”
I’m especially fond of her performances in “The Thrill of it All,” “Teacher’s Pet,” “Pajama Game,” “Lover Come Back,” and “Please Don’t Eat the Daisies.” Happy birthday, Miss Day!
Originally published at moviemom.com.