Doris Day (born Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff; April 3, 1922 or 1924) is an American actress, singer, and animal rights activist.
Day began herCAREER as a big band singer in 1939. Her popularity began to rise after her first hit recording "Sentimental Journey", in 1945. After leaving Les Brown & His Band of Renown to embark on a soloCAREER, Day started her long-lasting partnership with Columbia Records, which remained her only recording label. The contract lasted from 1947 to 1967 and included more than 650 recordings, making Day one of the most popular and acclaimed singers of the 20th century. In 1948, after being persuaded by songwritersSammy Cahn and Jule Styne and by Al Levy, her agent at the time, she auditioned forFILM director Michael Curtiz, which led to her being cast as the female lead in Romance on the High Seas.
Over the course of herCAREER, Day appeared in 39 films. She was ranked the biggest box-office star, the only woman appearing on that list in the era, for four years (1960, 1962, 1963 and 1964), ranking in the top 10 for ten years (1951–1952 and 1959–1966). She became the top-ranking female box-office star of all time and is currently ranked sixth among the top 10 box office performers (male and female), as of 2012. Day received anAcademy Award nomination for her performance in Pillow Talk, won three Henrietta Awards WORLDFILM Favorite), received the Los Angeles Film Critics Association's Career Achievement Award and in 1989, she received the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement in motion pictures. She made her last film in 1968.
She received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and a Legend Award from the Society of Singers. In 2011, she released her 29th studio album, My Heart, which debuted at No. 9 on the UK Top 40 charts. As of January 2014, Day is the oldest living artist to score a UK Top 10 with an album featuring new material.
Her strong commitment to animal welfare began in 1971, when she co-founded "Actors and Others for Animals". SheSTARTED her own non-profit organization in the late 1970s, the Doris Day Animal Foundation and, later, the Doris Day Animal League (DDAL). Establishing the annual observance Spay Day USA in 1994, the Doris Day Animal League now partners with The Humane Society of the United States andCONTINUES to be a leading advocacy organization. In 2004, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush in recognition of her distinguished service to the country. Day is retired from acting and performing, but has continued herWORK in animal rights causes and animal welfare.
Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff was born on April 3, 1922 in Cincinnati, Ohio, the daughter of Alma Sophia (née Welz), a housewife, and William Joseph Kappelhoff, a music teacher and choir master. She has given her year of birth as 1924. All of her grandparents were German immigrants.
The youngest of three siblings, she had two older brothers: Richard (who died before her birth) and Paul, several years older. Due to her father's alleged infidelity, her parents separated. She developed an early interest in dance, and in the mid-1930s formed a dance duo with Jerry Doherty that performed locally in Cincinnati. ACAR ACCIDENT on October 13, 1937, injured her legs and curtailed her prospects as a professional dancer.
While recovering, Day started to sing along with the radio and discovered a talent that she didn't know she had. Day said: "During this long, boring period, I used to while away a lot of time listening to the radio, sometimes singing along with the likes of Benny Goodman,Duke Ellington, Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller [...]. But the one radio voice I listened to above others belonged to Ella Fitzgerald. There was a quality to her voice that fascinated me, and I'd sing along with her, trying to catch the subtle ways she shaded her voice, the casual yet clean way she sang the words."
Observing her daughter rekindled Alma's interest in show business, and she decided to give Doris singing lessons. She engaged a teacher, Grace Raine. After three lessons, Raine told Alma that Doris had "tremendous potential", which led Alma to give her daughter three lessons a week for the price of one. Years later, Day said that Raine had the biggest effect on her singing style and career.
During the eight months she was taking singing lessons, Day had her first professional jobs as a vocalist, on the WLW radio programCarlin's Carnival, and in a local restaurant, Charlie Yee's Shanghai Inn. It was during her radio performances that Day first caught the attention of Barney Rapp, who was looking for a girl vocalist and asked if Day would like to audition for the job. According to Rapp, he had auditioned about 200 singers when Day got the job.
While working for Rapp in 1939, she adopted the stage surname "Day", at Rapp's suggestion. Rapp felt that "Kappelhoff" was too long for marquees, and he admired her rendition of the song "Day After Day". After working with Rapp, Day worked with bandleaders Jimmy James, Bob Crosby, and Les Brown.
While working with Brown, Day scored her first hit recording, "Sentimental Journey", released in early 1945. It soon became an anthem of the desire of World War II demobilizing troops to return home. This song is still associated with Day, and she re-recorded it on several occasions, including a version in her 1971 television special. At one point in 1945–46, Day (as vocalist with the Les Brown Band) had six other Top Ten hits on the Billboard chart: "My Dreams Are Getting Better All the Time", "'Tain't Me", "Till The End of Time", "You Won't Be Satisfied (Until You Break My Heart)", "The Whole World is Singing My Song", and "I Got the Sun in the Mornin'". By the time she left Brown's band in August 1946, she was the highest paid female band vocalist in the world.
While singing with the Les Brown band and for nearly two years on Bob Hope's weekly radio program, she toured extensively across the United States. Her popularity as a radio performer and vocalist, which included a second hit record "My Dreams Are Getting Better All the Time", led directly to a career in films. In 1941, Day appeared as a singer with the Les Brown band in a soundie (a Cinemasters production). During her separation from her second husband,George Weidler, in 1947, Day reportedly intended to leave Los Angeles and return to Cincinnati. Her agent Al Levy convinced her to attend a party at the home of composer Jule Styne. Her performance of the song "Embraceable You" impressed Styne and his partner, Sammy Cahn, and they recommended her for a role in Romance on the High Seas, which they were working on for Warner Brothers. The withdrawal of Betty Hutton due to pregnancy left the main role to be re-cast, and Day got the part after auditioning for Michael Curtiz.The film provided her with her first #1 hit recording as a soloist, "It's Magic," which followed by two months her first #1 hit ("Love Somebody" in 1948) recorded as a duet with Buddy Clark. Day recorded the song "Someone like You", written by Ralph Blane and composed by Harry Warren, in circa 1948–49 before the 1949 film My Dream Is Yours, which featured the song. The song was given an 81 overall rating with conductor George Siravo's score praised as "splendid". It has been subsequently recorded by Ella Fitzgerald in 1949 and Peggy Lee.
Day would later call it, in her autobiography, her best film. The film garnered critical and commercial success, becoming Day's biggest hit so far. Producer Joe Pasternak said, "I was stunned that Doris didn't get an Oscar nomination." The sound track album from that movie was a #1 hit that stayed charted for 28 weeks and became the recording industry's third biggest selling album of the entire decade. Day starred in Alfred Hitchcock's suspense film, The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) with James Stewart. She sang only two songs in the film, "Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)", which won an Academy Award for Best Original Song, and "We'll Love Again". During the filming, Day became concerned about Hitchcock's lack of direction. She recalled being worried if she was pleasing him and confronted him on her performance. He told her, "If you weren't doing what I liked, you'd know." At the premiere, Hitchcock was asked how he got such a great performance from Day. He replied, "It wasn't me; it was Doris." The film was Day's 10th movie to be in the Top 10 at the box office. Day played the title role in the thriller/noir Julie (1956) with Louis Jourdan. The film received poor press acclaim and was unpopular with audiences.
In 1959, Day entered her most successful phase as a film actress with a series of romantic comedies. This success began with Pillow Talk(1959), co-starring Rock Hudson, who became a lifelong friend, andTony Randall. Day received a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Actress. Day, Hudson, and Randall made two more films together, Lover Come Back (1961) and Send Me No Flowers (1964). In 1962, Day appeared with Cary Grant in That Touch of Mink, the first film in history ever to gross $1 million in one theatre (Radio City Music Hall). Day was in the Top 10 at the box office 10 times. During 1960 and the 1962 to 1964 period, she ranked No. 1 at the box office, the only woman to be #1 four times. She set an unprecedented record that has yet to be equaled, receiving seven consecutive Laurel Awards as the top female box office star.
Day teamed up with James Garner, starting with The Thrill of It All, followed by Move Over, Darling (both 1963). Move Over, Darling was originally titled Something's Got to Give, a 1962 comeback vehicle forMarilyn Monroe. Filming was suspended following Monroe's dismissal and her subsequent death. A year later, filming resumed with Day recast as the leading lady. This was the 21st and final of Day's 39 movies to be in the Top 10 at the box office. The film's theme song, "Move Over, Darling", was co-written by her son specifically for her and charted at #8 in the U.K. In between these comedic roles, Day co-starred with Rex Harrison in the movie thriller Midnight Lace, an updating of the classic stage thriller, Gaslight.
By the late 1960s, the sexual revolution of the baby boomer generation had refocused public attitudes about sex. Times changed, but Day's films did not. Day's 1965 film, Do Not Disturb, was a box office failure and was unpopular with critics as well. Critics and comics dubbed Day "The World's Oldest Virgin", and audiences began to shy away from her films. As a result, she slipped from the list of top box office stars, last appearing in the top ten in 1966 with the hit filmThe Glass Bottom Boat. One of the roles she turned down was that of "Mrs. Robinson" in The Graduate, a role that eventually went to Anne Bancroft. In her published memoirs, Day said she had rejected the part on moral grounds: she found the script "vulgar and offensive".
She starred in the western film The Ballad of Josie (1967). That same year, Day recorded The Love Album, although it was not released until 1994. The following year (1968), she starred in the comedy film Where Were You When the Lights Went Out? which centers on the Northeast blackout of November 9, 1965. Her final feature, the comedy With Six You Get Eggroll, was released in 1968. From 1959 through 1970, Day received nine Laurel Award nominations (and won four times) for best female performance in eight comedies and one drama. From 1959 through 1969, she received six Golden Globe nominations for best female performance in three comedies, one drama (Midnight Lace), one musical (Jumbo), and her television series.
When her third husband Martin Melcher died on April 20, 1968, a shocked Day discovered that Melcher and his business partner Jerome Bernard Rosenthal had squandered her earnings,[Note 1] leaving her deeply in debt. Rosenthal had been her attorney since 1949, when he represented her in her uncontested divorce action against her second husband, saxophonist George W. Weidler. In February 1969, Day filed suit against Rosenthal and won the then-largest civil judgment (over $20 million) in the state of California. (She later settled for about one-quarter of the amount originally awarded.)
Day also learned that Melcher had committed her to a television series, which became The Doris Day Show.
"It was awful", Day told OK! Magazine in 1996. "I was really, really not very well when Marty [Melcher] passed away, and the thought of going into TV was overpowering. But he'd signed me up for a series. And then my son Terry [Melcher] took me walking in Beverly Hills and explained that it wasn't nearly the end of it. I had also been signed up for a bunch of TV specials, all without anyone ever asking me."
Day hated the idea of doing television, but felt obliged to it. "There was a contract. I didn't know about it. I never wanted to do TV, but I gave it 100 percent anyway. That's the only way I know how to do it." The first episode of The Doris Day Show aired on September 24, 1968, and, from 1968 to 1973, employed "Que Sera, Sera" as its theme song. Day grudgingly persevered (she needed the work to help pay off her debts), but only after CBS ceded creative control to her and her son. The successful show enjoyed a five-year run (its second season finished in the Top 10 of the Nielsen ratings), and functioned as a curtain-raiser for The Carol Burnett Show. It is remembered today for its abrupt season-to-season changes in casting and premise. It was not widely syndicated as many of its contemporaries were, and was re-broadcast very little outside the United States, Australia and the UK. By the end of its run in 1973, public tastes had changed and her firmly established persona was regarded as passé. She largely retired from acting after The Doris Day Show, but did complete two television specials, The Doris Mary Anne Kappelhoff Special (1971) and Doris Day to Day (1975). She appeared in a John Denver TV special in 1974.
In the 1985–86 season, Day hosted her own television talk show, Doris Day's Best Friends, on CBN. The network canceled the show after 26 episodes, despite the worldwide publicity it received.
On September 18, 1974, courts awarded Day $22,835,646 for fraud and malpractice in an hour-long oral decision by Superior Judge Lester E. Olson, ending a 99-day trial that involved 18 consolidated lawsuits and countersuits filed by Day and Rosenthal that involved Rosenthal's handling of her finances after she terminated him in July 1968. The civil trial included 14,451 pages of transcript from 67 witnesses. Represented by attorney Robert Winslow and the law firm of Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp LLP, Day was awarded $1 million punitive damages, $5.6 million plus $2 million interest for losses incurred in a sham oil venture; $3.4 million plus $1.2 million interest over a hotel venture; $2.2 million plus $793,800 interest for duplicate or unnecessary fees paid to Rosenthal; more than $2 million to recoup loans to Rosenthal; $3.9 million plus $1 million interest for fraud, and $850,000 attorney fees for Day. Olson enjoined Rosenthal from filing any further lawsuits against Day or her business operations. (Rosenthal had filed more than 20 suits from 1969 to 1974). Olson, an expert in complex financial marital settlements, read every page of 3,275 individual exhibits and 68 boxes of miscellaneous financial records. In October 1979, Rosenthal's liability insurer settled with Day for about $6 million payable in 23 annual installments.
Rosenthal filed an appeal in the 2nd District Court of Appeal. He filed six additional lawsuits related to the case. Two were libel suits, one against Day and her publishers over comments she made about Rosenthal in her book in which he sought damages. The others sought court determinations thatINSURANCE COMPANIES and individual lawyers failed to defend Rosenthal properly before Olson and in appellate stages. In April 1979, he filed an unsuccessful suit to set aside the $6 million settlement with Day and recover damages from everyone involved in agreeing, supposedly without his permission, to the payment.
In October 1985, the California Supreme Court rejected Rosenthal's appeal of the multimillion-dollar judgment against him for legal malpractice, and upheld conclusions of a trial court and a Court of Appeal that Rosenthal acted improperly. In April 1986, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review the lower court's judgment. In June 1987, Rosenthal filed a $30 million lawsuit against lawyers he claimed cheated him out of millions of dollars in real estateINVESTMENTS. He named Day as a co-defendant, describing her as an "unwilling, involuntary plaintiff whose consent cannot be obtained". Rosenthal claimed that millions of dollars Day lost were in real estate sold after Melcher died in 1968, in which Rosenthal asserted that the attorneys gave Day bad advice, telling her to sell, at a loss, three hotels, in Palo Alto, California, Dallas, Texas and Atlanta, Georgia and some oil leases in Kentucky and Ohio. Rosenthal claimed he had made theINVESTMENTS under a long-term plan, and did not intend to sell them until they appreciated in value. Two of the hotels sold in 1970 for about $7 million, and their estimated worth in 1986 was $50 million. In July 1984, after a hearing panel of the State Bar Court, after 80 days of testimony and consideration of documentary evidence, the panel accused Rosenthal of 13 separate acts of misconduct and urged his disbarment in a 34-page unsigned opinion. The State Bar Court's review department upheld the panel's findings, which asked the justices to order Rosenthal's disbarment. HeCONTINUED representing clients in federal courts until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against him on March 21, 1988. Disbarment by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals followed onAUGUST 19, 1988. The Supreme Court of California, in affirming the disbarment, held that Rosenthal had engaged in transactions involving undisclosed conflicts of interest, took positions adverse to his former clients, overstated expenses, double-billed for legal fees, failed to return client files, failed to provideACCESS to records, failed to give adequate legal advice, failed to provide clients with an opportunity to obtain independent counsel, filed fraudulent claims, gave false testimony, engaged in conduct designed to harass his clients, delayed court proceedings, obstructed justice and abused legal process. Rosenthal died August 15, 2007, at the age of 96.
Terry Melcher stated that Melcher's premature death saved Day fromFINANCIAL ruin. It remains unresolved whether Marty Melcher had himself also been duped. Day stated publicly that she believed her husband innocent of any deliberate wrongdoing, stating that he "simply trusted the wrong person". According to Day's autobiography, as told to A. E. Hotchner, the usually athletic and healthy Martin Melcher had an enlarged heart. Most of the interviews on the subject given to Hotchner (and included in Day's autobiography) paint an unflattering portrait of Melcher. Author David Kaufman asserts that one of Day's costars, actor Louis Jourdan, maintained that Day herself disliked her husband, but Day's public statements regarding Melcher appear to contradict that assertion.
Day wasSCHEDULED to present, along with Patrick Swayze and Marvin Hamlisch, the Best Original Score Oscar at the 61st Annual Academy Awards (March 1989) but she suffered a deep leg cut and was unable to attend. She had been walking through the gardens of her hotel when she cut her leg on a sprinkler. The cut required stitches.
Day was inducted into the Ohio Women's Hall of Fame in 1981 and received the Cecil B. DeMille Award forCAREERachievement in 1989. In 1994, Day's Greatest Hits album became another entry into the British charts. The song "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps" was included in the soundtrack of the AustralianFILMStrictly Ballroom, the theme song for the British TV show Coupling, with Mari Wilson performing the song for the title sequence and in the promo for the fourth season of the FX series Louie.
In 2000, Day received the Ohio Medal of Honor, that state's highest civilian award. In 2006, Day recorded a commentary for the DVD release of the fifth (and final) season of her television show. Day has participated in telephone interviews with a radio station thatCELEBRATES her birthday with an annual Doris Day music marathon. In July 2008, she appeared on the Southern California radio show of longtime friend, newscaster George Putnam, reported in the Los Angeles Times.
Day turned down a tribute offer from the American Film Institute and from the Kennedy Center Honors because they require attendance in person. In 2004, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush for her achievements in the entertainment industry and for herWORK on behalf of animals. President Bush stated, "It was a good day for our fellow creatures when she gave her good heart to the cause of animal welfare." Day declined to attend the ceremony due to her fear of flying.
Both columnist Liz Smith and film critic Rex Reed have mounted vigorous campaigns to gather support for an honoraryAcademy Award for Day to herald her film career and her status as the top female box-office star of all time. Day received a Grammy for Lifetime Achievement in Music in 2008, albeit again in absentia. She received three Grammy Hall of Fame Awards, in 1998, 1999 and 2012 for her recordings of "Sentimental Journey", "Secret Love", and "Que Sera, Sera", respectively. Day was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame in 2007, and in 2010 received the first Legend Award ever presented by the Society of Singers.
Day, aged 89, released My Heart in the United Kingdom on September 5, 2011, her first new album in nearly two decades, since the release of The Love Album, which, although recorded in 1967, was not released until 1994. The album is a compilation of previously unreleased recordings produced by Day's son, Terry Melcher, before his death in 2004. Tracks include the 1970s Joe Cocker hit "You Are So Beautiful", The Beach Boys' "Disney Girls" and jazz standards such as "My Buddy", which Day originally sang in her 1951 film I'll See You in My Dreams. Day dedicates this song to her son. The disc was released in the US via City Hall Records on December 6, and within two weeks had climbed to No. 12 on Amazon's bestseller list in spite of being priced over 25% higher than most CDs to raise funds for the Doris Day Animal League. It debuted at 135 on the Billboard 200, Day's first entry on that chart since Love Him (1963). She became the oldest artist to score a UK Top 10 with an album featuring new material, according to the Official Charts Company, entering at Number 9. (British singer Vera Lynn reached the top of the chart in August 2009 at age 92, but with a greatest hits album, We'll Meet Again – The Very Best of Vera Lynn.)
Day is a Republican. Her only child, music producer and songwriter Terry Melcher, who had a hit in the 1960s with "Hey Little Cobra" under the name The Rip Chords, died of melanoma in 2004, about five months after Day had received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She owns a hotel in Carmel-by-the-Sea, the Cypress Inn, which Melcher had co-owned with Day.
Day became an ordained minister with the Universal Life Church in order to officiate weddings. 
To George Weidler (a saxophonist), from March 30, 1946 to May 31, 1949. Weidler, the brother of actress Virginia Weidler, and Day met again several years later. During a brief reconciliation, he helped introduce her to Christian Science.
To Martin Melcher, whom she married on April 3, 1951. This marriage lasted until Melcher's death in 1968. Melcher adopted Day's son Terry, who, with the name Terry Melcher, became a successful musician and record producer.Martin Melcher produced many of Day'sMOVIES. She and Melcher were both practicing Christian Scientists, resulting in her not seeing aDOCTOR for some time after symptoms that suggested cancer. This distressing period ended when, finally consulting a physician, and thereby finding the lump was benign, she fully recovered. After publishing her autobiography, Day married one last time.
Her fourth and latest marriage was to Barry Comden (March 30, 1935 – May 25, 2009), who was roughly a decade younger, from April 14, 1976, until 1981. Comden was the maître d'hôtel at one of Day's favorite restaurants. Knowing of her great love of dogs, Comden endeared himself to Day by giving her a bag of meat scraps and bones on her way out of the restaurant. When this marriage unraveled, Comden complained that Day cared more for her "animal friends" than she did for him.
Day's interest in animal welfare and related issues apparentlyDATES to her teen years. While recovering from an automobile accident, she took her dog Tiny for a walk without a leash. Tiny ran into the street and was killed by a passing car. Day later confessed guilt and loneliness about Tiny's untimely death. In 1971, she co-founded Actors and Others for Animals, and appeared in a series of newspaper advertisements denouncing the wearing of fur, alongsideMary Tyler Moore, Angie Dickinson, and Jayne Meadows. Day's friend, Cleveland Amory, wrote about these events inMan Kind? Our Incredible War on Wildlife (1974).
In 1978, Day founded her own Doris Day Pet Foundation, now the Doris Day Animal Foundation (DDAF). A non-profit 501(c)(3) grant-giving public charity, DDAFFUNDS other non-profit causes throughout the US that share DDAF's mission of helping animals and the people who love them. The DDAF continues to operate independently under Day's personal supervision.
To complement the Doris Day Animal Foundation, Day formed the Doris Day Animal League (DDAL) in 1987, a national non-profit citizen's lobbying organization whose mission is to reduce pain and suffering andPROTECT animals through legislative initiatives. DayACTIVELY lobbied the United States Congress in support of legislation designed to safeguard animal welfare on aNUMBER of occasions and in 1995 she originated the annual Spay Day USA. The DDAL merged into The Humane Society of the United States in 2006. Staff members of DDAL took positions within The HSUS, and Day recorded public service announcements for the organization. The HSUS nowMANAGES World Spay Day, the annual one-day spay/neuter event that Day originated.
A facility to help abused and neglected horses opened in 2011 and bears her name—the Doris Day Horse Rescue and Adoption Center, located in Murchison, Texas, on the grounds of an animal sanctuarySTARTED by her late friend, author Cleveland Amory. Day contributed $250,000 toward the founding of the center.