Doris Day, Hollywood legend, died at 97
May 13, 2019 10:03 PM   Subscribe

Doris Day, the freckle-faced movie actress whose irrepressible personality and golden voice made her America’s top box-office star in the early 1960s, died on Monday at her home in Carmel Valley, Calif. She was 97. “My public image is unshakably that of America’s wholesome virgin, the girl next door, carefree and brimming with happiness," she said. “An image, I can assure you, more make-believe than any film part I ever played.” NYT obit. Doris Day helped America look at AIDS with empathy and love for Rock Hudson. A life in photos. Doris Day: A Hollywood Legend Reflects On Life
posted by gryphonlover (55 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Que sera sera.

posted by oneswellfoop at 10:11 PM on May 13 [10 favorites]

posted by bryon at 10:13 PM on May 13

whatever will be will be, the future's not ours to see... Que sera sera.

posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 10:36 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]

A woman with a big heart; a true champion of animals and kindness in general. RIP, Ms Day.

posted by Halo in reverse at 10:37 PM on May 13 [4 favorites]

posted by Ten Cold Hot Dogs at 10:44 PM on May 13

I have always loved "The Black Hills Of Dakota".
posted by rongorongo at 10:45 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]


A favorite: "Someday I'll find you."
posted by Wobbuffet at 10:47 PM on May 13

Spoiler alert for The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956.)

My first Doris Day was watching the Hitchcock movie as a little kid with my dad. The dramatic conclusion with her son hearing her sing and whistling along to Que Sera Sera has always been the first to come to mind. It was years later that I learned about her animal rights activism and that she lived on the central coast of California.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 10:51 PM on May 13 [3 favorites]


I don’t exactly feel wrecked, but it feels like a ball, like it’s going to build up into something or just churn in me. Rest in Peace.

I remember finding her movies in high school, and they were old then, a bygone era. (A.O Scott on Lover Come Back as one of the ideal romcoms.) I only really learned about her music career after Nellie McKay did her cover album, so everything came to me backwards and still only in bits. Such a performer! So boxed in by type, so mistreated by husbands, so able to make comebacks! (The episode of You Must Remember This that touches on her career is quite good.)
posted by Going To Maine at 11:02 PM on May 13 [3 favorites]

posted by lapolla at 11:04 PM on May 13

She was born at peak Doris.
posted by pracowity at 11:57 PM on May 13

I am tearfully happy thinking of all the wagging tails that met her at the Rainbow Bridge.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 2:56 AM on May 14 [10 favorites]

One of my favorite one-liner quips:

Oscar Levant: I knew Doris Day before she was a virgin.

posted by dances_with_sneetches at 3:40 AM on May 14 [3 favorites]

posted by Jilder at 4:26 AM on May 14

posted by filtergik at 4:34 AM on May 14

A friend pointed out that the first living person named in "We Didn't Start the Fire" has now dropped from the first stanza to the fourteenth (with Chubby Checker now) which is a very weird way to look at history and at Doris Day in particular but says something about her longevity and the shadow she cast.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:45 AM on May 14 [10 favorites]

Hey There.

posted by Bee'sWing at 5:00 AM on May 14 [2 favorites]

posted by lordrunningclam at 5:07 AM on May 14

posted by drnick at 5:13 AM on May 14

posted by mochapickle at 5:50 AM on May 14

posted by Cash4Lead at 6:00 AM on May 14

When I was a little kid, for a year or so, our class teacher was a very clever and energetic bearded guy who was obsessed with Doris Day. He would find excuses to talk about her and play her records and the fairy-tale-based class plays he devised for us would always include a Doris Day track somewhere, to the confusion of the parents watching. There must be hundreds of now middle aged people in London who know all the words to The Deadwood Stage and can’t remember why.
posted by w0mbat at 6:05 AM on May 14 [14 favorites]

She was also the patron saint of good parking - it's rumored that if you say her name when looking for a spot in Hollywood, a good one will open up for you...
posted by Mchelly at 6:15 AM on May 14 [2 favorites]

posted by kalessin at 6:16 AM on May 14

A class act through and through.

See you around, Miss Doris. Say hi to Cary for us.
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:41 AM on May 14

posted by Iridic at 6:43 AM on May 14

posted by evilDoug at 6:57 AM on May 14

posted by Gelatin at 7:00 AM on May 14

These days, nothing chills my blood quite like coming across the words "is/was a lifelong Republican" when I'm reading someone's IMDB or Wikipedia page, especially when it's someone in whom I see much to admire, who was so talented and accomplished so much, who did a lot of good with her animal rights activism, who seems to have treated others well even if they might have had to contribute the occasional quarter to her swear jar, whose "Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps" is probably in my top 1000 of most-loved songs. Yeah, yeah, she was of a different generation and the Republican party used to be different... but she still supported Dubya's second election, and I find it hard to excuse that in anyone.
posted by orange swan at 7:07 AM on May 14 [7 favorites]

posted by Faintdreams at 7:35 AM on May 14

A very long time ago I said some disparaging young punk thing about Doris Day and my father corrected me, saying that she had been a fine jazz singer. He had been right about the Beatles and Stones covering old blues songs and who the original artists were, and he could listen to Charlie Parker and tell you what standard the chords were from, but damn. Doris Day? Really?

At the time there was no easy way to go check that out. Now there is, and this is probably my last reminder to do so.

This isn't jazz as played now, but it is the kind of big band dance song where jazz musicians would take solos. She isn't stretching the time much, but she is swinging. So, OK. She was at least one of the ones you would mark down as a hint, a trail marker, an indication that there was something to be found in this direction.

If anyone knows of any better examples of her singing with jazz musicians, I would appreciate hearing of them.
posted by ckridge at 8:07 AM on May 14 [2 favorites]

Last night, I played "Secret Love" over and over and cried it out.

I had been aware of her all my life, of course, but it was Calamity Jane that made me fall in love. I was tickled to find out that it was her favorite of her movies, as well.

From there it was her romantic comedies with James Garner, David Niven, and above all Rock Hudson, who was a revelation unto himself. It's hard to believe he was new to comedy and thought he wouldn't be any good. It was their offscreen friendship that made him comfortable enough to let go and have fun with it.

High-drama biopics (Love Me or Leave Me), high-stakes thrillers (The Man Who Knew Too Much, Midnight Lace), those lighthearted musicals with real-life boyfriend Jack Carson or boy-next-door Gordon MacRae... it seems like there was nothing she couldn't do, and do perfectly. She always practically oozed honesty; it was impossible to not believe every word she said (or sang).

I'm glad that in her later years it seemed like she finally got some of the peace and happiness that kept getting taken away from her for so long.

But for me, it always comes back to Calamity Jane. It's just plain good fun, with a core of that undiluted honest emotion she conveyed better than anybody.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:24 AM on May 14 [7 favorites]

posted by Melismata at 8:47 AM on May 14

Fun fact: Doris' son was Terry Melcher, the record producer who was introduced to Charles Manson by Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys. Charlie tried to get a record deal through Terry but it didn't work out, to Charlie's dismay. Terry lived at 10050 Cielo Drive, the ill-fated address later occupied by Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski. (Also, "Lover Come Back" as the ideal romcom? Do you know how that movie ends?)
posted by Clustercuss at 8:47 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]

Ten Cents a Dance, definitely not the "wholesome virgin, girl next door".
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 8:55 AM on May 14 [3 favorites]

posted by radwolf76 at 9:09 AM on May 14

Just Sunday night I brought up Doris Day to my mom. I thought she was only like 92, but wow what a great run.

posted by rhizome at 9:35 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]

posted by lungtaworld at 10:10 AM on May 14

I was a junior usher at a local theater for a short while (I lied about my age), and my tenure coincided with a revival showing of "Please Don't Eat the Daisies" starring her and Davis Niven, so I saw this movie about 12,000 times (it seemed). I'm pretty sure just watching her on screen ushered (see what I did there?) me into puberty. Thank you, Ms. Day.
posted by Chitownfats at 10:21 AM on May 14 [4 favorites]

If anyone knows of any better examples of her singing with jazz musicians, I would appreciate hearing of them.
You might like Doris Day - Essential Jazz Legends - not all the tracks are jazz numbers but many are. I think she grew up listening to Ella Fitzgerald a lot.

A shout out to "A Guy is a Guy" - which is a fucking terrifying song hiding in dressed up with cheery 1952 production.
posted by rongorongo at 10:35 AM on May 14 [2 favorites]

I only just saw this one this year - just another nuclear fallout love song... "Tic Tic Tic"
posted by Mchelly at 10:37 AM on May 14 [3 favorites]

posted by Splunge at 11:21 AM on May 14

posted by me3dia at 11:45 AM on May 14

Greendale Community College alums: If any of you are in contact with Abed Nadir '15, please for the love of God do not let him near reruns of "The Doris Day Show". Since the only in-show explanation for the frequent appearance, disappearance and alterations of characters and situations in the series is random switching between alternate timelines, the alt-timeline-obsessed Nadir is likely to have another nervous breakdown and possibly even dig up the actress' body looking for dice or trackers.

And he must never know of Maclean Stevenson, before or after MASH. That is all.

(Seriously, she turned down Mrs. Robinson? That's almost Brando-level self+career-loathing.)

posted by zaixfeep at 11:52 AM on May 14 [3 favorites]

posted by mordax at 12:19 PM on May 14

posted by Lynsey at 12:25 PM on May 14

I love the randomness of The Doris Day Show! Plus it's actually a well-made contrivance, not an obvious vehicle like The Lucy Show (III). That said, he should also be kept away from Make Room for Daddy, which switched out a wife and daughter along the way.

(Seriously, she turned down Mrs. Robinson? That's almost Brando-level self+career-loathing.)

Wait, does this mean she fucked Joan Rivers?
posted by rhizome at 12:32 PM on May 14

I thought she was only like 92

IIRC, she grew up thinking she was two years younger than she was. I don't know how it got started, but she was truly surprised when someone hunted up her birth certificate and she found out she was born in '22 rather than '24.

Seriously, she turned down Mrs. Robinson?

Patrick McGoohan turned down James Bond for the same reason - he objected to all the casual sex on screen.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:32 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]

You might like Doris Day - Essential Jazz Legends yt - not all the tracks are jazz numbers but many are.

This is not available in the US, but I got pissed off, got serious, and eventually recalled that I am an academic librarian, and that academic libraries carry music. (Logocentricity.) I am listening online to some of those holdings now. She seems to have taken what songs she was given and done her best with them. Every so often they give her one she likes. You are right, she had listened to a lot of Ella.

These band photos are hilarious. Forty-two white guys, one black guy in back for the solo, and Doris.
posted by ckridge at 1:39 PM on May 14

posted by nightrecordings at 4:16 PM on May 14

Metafilter often likes Meta things, so I'll note that the goofy caper film 'Caprice' (1967) has a scene in a movie theatre where the movie being screened is the self-refential title.
posted by ovvl at 6:42 PM on May 14

Anthony Lane in The New Yorker: “The Matchless Presence of Doris Day”
posted by Going To Maine at 11:50 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]

O, and more A. O. Scott, though this isn’t the official NYT obit: “Doris Day: A Hip Sex Goddess Disguised as the Girl Next Door”
posted by Going To Maine at 12:48 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]

RIP Ms. Day.

She, more than anyone else, really epitomized early 60's fashion for me. The color coordination, the frequent outfit changes, the fit of all her clothes; so dreamy
posted by nikitabot at 7:15 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]

Something probably little-known about her (outside Canada anyway) is that twenty years ago she played a peripheral, passive, and almost certainly unknowing albeit crucial role in stomping out the rise of a populist politician here.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:39 AM on May 15 [3 favorites]

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