Many people dream of becoming movie stars, pop singers, or even charity founders, but only Doris Day was lucky enough to become all three. This iconic celebrity was an incredibly talented pop singer in the 1940s, but she went on to become a movie star in the 1950s before finally moving on to television in the 1960s.
Despite her fame, however, the industries of film and television can be exploitative to their workers, as we’ll find out in this video. Doris Days’ life wasn’t always sunshine and rainbows, and she dealt with a lot of hardships. Make sure you watch this video until the very end, where we’ll reveal how Doris Day was cruelly tricked into performing on television.
Facts Verse Presents: Doris Day was Tricked Into Television (10 Shocking Facts)
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She Changed Her Name
It’s not uncommon for celebrities to change their name. Many actors and singers changed their first names, last names, or, in the case of Marilyn Monroe, changed their names entirely! It’s easier to make headlines with a short, punchy name that both looks and sounds nice.
Doris Day was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on April 3rd, 1922. Her parents, Alma Sophia and William Joseph Kappelhoff named her Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff.
When she was younger, Doris dreamt of becoming a professional dancer. She even managed to perform locally in her hometown of Cincinnati. In 1937, however, she suffered a leg injury in a car accident, and Doris’s dreams of becoming a dancer were brutally torn from her. While she was recovering, she began to sing along with the radio to curb boredom. Her mother was impressed, and she took her to a vocal teacher, who thought that Doris had incredible potential.
Doris began to perform solo at local restaurants and on small radio shows. In 1939, a man named Barney Rapp was impressed with her talent and style, and he asked her to audition for the band he was forming.
Over 200 different singers auditioned, but Doris was the only one to land a part in the band. She kept her name Doris Kappelhoff for a little while, but Barney eventually suggested that she change it.
The band had performed the song “Day After Day” together, and Barney Rapp was impressed with Doris’s unique spin on the song, so he dubbed her Doris Day. The singer transformed it into her stage name soon after.
She Was an Animal Welfare Activist
One day, when Doris was a teenager, she took her beloved dog Tiny out for a walk. However, she had neglected to put a leash on him, and he ran out into the road, where he was hit by a car. Any dog owner would be devastated by the tragic accident, but Doris had always loved animals, and it hurt even more deeply.
Many years later, in 1971, she decided to use her celebrity influence to co-found Actors and Others for Animals. In 1978, she also created The Doris Day Pet Foundation, which was later renamed The Doris Day Animal Foundation. Even though Doris Day died in 2019, the Doris Day Animal Foundation continues to operate by funding other animal charities.
Finally, in 1987, Doris also founded The Doris Day Animal League, which used legislative initiatives to help animals throughout the United States. In 2006, The Doris Day Animal league merged with The Humane Society of the United States.
Doris Day also inspired many others to create their own foundations. In 2011, a group of people created a rescue and adoption center for horses who had been mistreated. They named the foundation The Doris Day Horse Rescue and Adoption Center. Doris was so touched by the gesture that she donated a quarter of a million dollars to the cause.
She Almost Didn’t Sing the Song “Que Sera, Sera.”
One of Doris Day’s most iconic moments in both film and music is her song “Que Sera, Sera.” In 1956, she was cast in the Alfred Hitchcock film The Man Who Knew Too Much. Doris Day starred alongside actor Jimmy Stewart in the movie, but it didn’t all go smoothly in the beginning.
The song “Que Sera, Sera” was written specifically for the film, and Alfred Hitchcock was eager for Doris Day to sing it. However, the actress initially refused, as she felt the song was too childish. However, Doris was eventually convinced to record the song, and it’s a good thing she did! At first, she was loath to perform, and she sang it in one take. Immediately after she finished recording, she said “That’s the last time you’ll ever hear that song.” However, Doris couldn’t have been more wrong.
The song became such a hit that it was later used as the theme song for her very own television show, which we’ll discuss later. She also earned a Grammy Hall of Fame Award for her 2012 recording of the song. If you’re glad Doris Day finally agreed to sing “Que Sera, Sera,” click the like button!
Rock Hudson Carried Doris with a Hidden Sling in Pillow Talk.
Doris Day starred in the immensely popular romantic comedy Pillow Talk alongside Rock Hudson in 1959. The two actors had such chemistry that they ended up working together in many other films, as well. However, Pillow Talk was undoubtedly their most famous film together.
Towards the end of the movie, Rock Hudson (who plays the character Brad Allen), carries Doris Day’s character, Jan Morrow, down the street while she is wearing her pajamas. However, it’s much harder to carry a woman bridal-style than it looks. The scene was filmed with multiple takes, and Rock Hudson had a difficult time carrying Doris for so long. The crew saved the day by coming up with a clever solution. They put Doris in a giant harness to hang around Rock Hudson’s shoulders, which distributed the burden more evenly.
The harness was well-hidden… for the most part. Some fans were able to find a few shots where the harness is visible for just a moment.
She Was Terrified of Airplanes
Everyone has at least one deep fear, and for Doris Day, that fear was flying. This is a particularly inconvenient fear for someone in the movie industry, as filming causes many actors to commute a lot. Furthermore, celebrities are usually called to appear at photoshoots and award ceremonies. Poor Doris was so terrified of flying in an airplane that she was forced to miss a variety of opportunities, but thankfully, this fear wasn’t enough to harm her career too much.
The most ironic part of Doris’s fear is that in the film noir Julie, she played the titular character, who also happened to be a flight attendant. Lucky enough for Doris, she didn’t have to fly in an airplane during filming, as all of the scenes in an airplane were filmed safely on the ground.
She Didn’t Accept Every Role
The 1967 film The Graduate was a highly sexual romantic comedy. The character Mrs. Robinson is an older woman who seduces a young man named Benjamin Braddock. The role of Mrs. Robinson was ultimately played by Anne Bancroft. However, many people don’t know that Doris Day was originally offered the role. However, Doris declined the offer. After reading the script, she described it as “vulgar and offensive,” and refused to take any part of it.
While Doris starred in many romantic comedies, she always preferred to have an image of chasteness. If she had accepted the role of Mrs. Robinson, it’s likely her public image would have changed drastically.
She’s Mentioned in at Least Four Songs
Many celebrities become an inspiration for other artists, and Doris Day was no exception. She earned a lot of attention from a variety of musical artists, including The Beatles, Billy Joel, Elton John, and even Wham!. She is mentioned in the songs “Dig It” by The Beatles, “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel, Elton John’s “Wrap Her Up,” and finally, in the song “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” by Wham!
Her Son Became a Famous Producer
Despite marrying three separate times, Doris Day only ever had one child; Terry Melcher. Like his mother, he sought his own sort of fame. Terry took an interest in Rock & Roll music, and he ended up becoming the producer for legends such as The Beach Boys and The Byrds. He was also a singer and songwriter of his own, and he also helped to record a variety of famous songs, including “Kokomo” and “Mr. Tambourine Man.” Sadly, Terry died of cancer in 2004.
Doris Day’s TV Show Underwent a Huge Change
The Doris Day Show aired in 1968, and it started as a family sitcom, where Doris lived on a ranch in California with both her children and her father. However, the series took a dramatic turn in the fourth season, where the tone shifted to accommodate the new trend of urban realism. While her children and father had been present at the beginning of the show, they never appeared on the series again. Instead, the show focused on Doris Day’s career as a single woman in the big city.
She Was Tricked into Acting for a Television Series
Many people dream of becoming a famous actor, but not everyone is aware of how exploitative the industry can be. Doris never expressed any desire to act in a television series, but she was cruelly tricked into it, anyway. Her third husband, Martin Melcher, died of heart complications. While she was mourning, Doris discovered that she had been signed onto a television series contract without her consent. She made the best of it, however, and the show aired for many years.
Doris Day was a woman of many talents, and she accomplished so many things in her life before she eventually died in 2019. Were you more impressed by Doris’s work on screen, or by her charity work for animals? Let us know in the comments below! And don’t forget to subscribe to Facts Verse for more videos!