Doris Day is one of the most popular actresses and singers of her day. She spends her life dedicating herself to animal welfare activism. She got her start in the show business as a big band singer back in the late thirties. With Les Brown & His Band Of Renown, she achieves commercial success by 1945 with two number 1 recordings. My Dreams Are Getting Better All The Time and Sentimental Journey.
After recording two hit singles, Doris leaves Brown and his outfit behind to embark on her own solo musical career. She records more than 650 songs between 1947 and 1967.
Hollywood’s Golden Age
Doris begins her film career during Hollywood’s Golden Age first appearing in the 1948 film Romance on the High Seas. After establishing herself as a star player, she appears in films across many genres, including comedies, thrillers, dramas, and musicals. In the 1950s and 60s, Doris Day had become America’s most beloved box-office sweetheart.
Some of her standout roles include parts in films such as 1953s Calamity Jane, 1956s Alfred Hitchcock film The Man Who Knew Too Much, and 1959s Pillow Talk. The latter of which saw Day performing alongside Rock Hudson and earned her an Academy Award nod for Best Actress
Her Hollywood film career ends in 1968. Doris goes on to star in her own television sitcom, The Dorris Day Show, which runs from 1968 to 1973.
Dorris Day was suitably awarded and honored for her many career achievements. In 1989, for example, she awards the prestigious Golden Globe Cecil B. Demille Award for her lifetime achievement in cinema. In 2004, Day receives an award from the Presidential Medal of Freedom. It is the highest honor that a civilian can achieve in the US. A few years later, she received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award for her prolific decades-spanning musical career.
The fact that she is one of the most accomplished stars of the 20th and early 21st centuries. She spends her final days in seclusion, being ruthlessly manipulated by the people around her. Day died on May 13, 2019. Since then, a major rift has formed between her family and friends, who accuse each other of mistreating her.
Join FactsVerse as we attempt to determine what happened to Doris Day during those fateful final days of her life. If you consider yourself a Doris Day fan, this is one video that you don’t want to miss.
Doris Day: A Conservative Icon
Doris lived to 97 and spent the remainder of her final years at her home in Carmel, California. Throughout her career in Hollywood and working in the music industry, she was a very unique star. She is effortlessly charming and a wholesome feminine figure who embodies the model woman of the late 50s and 60s.
Doris was both virginal and sexy at the same time. She focuses on her career but was still very domestic, elegant, and widely approachable. She accomplishes this by presenting a simple, mythical image of womanhood, something that no other star at her time did.
Doris was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1922. When she is a child, she trains as a dancer but later found success as a recording artist. First singing at local nightclubs and on radio programs. Then finding work with swing orchestras when she is in her early to mid-20s.
When she was a late teen, she started working with the previously mentioned band leader Les Brown. In 1945, when Day was 23, she released her first hit single Sentimental Journey. By the mid-1940s, Day had already appeared as a singer in several movies.
Romance on the High Seas
Director Michael Curtiz cast her in his 1943 film Romance on the High Seas. He thinks that her freckles make her appear like an all-American Girl and that her film career begins.
For a period between 1960 and 65, Day was the biggest box office draw in the nation. During these years, she picks up a Golden Globe award in addition to four other Golden Globe nominations. An Academy Award nod for her 1959 appearance in Pillow talk, and two Grammy nominations for Best Female Pop performer.
After quitting the film industry in 1968 and shifting her focus to working with animal charities such as The Doris Day Animal Foundation, Day remained an ever-popular figure with the public and frequently made guest appearances on talk shows and variety programs throughout the remainder of her life.
Iconis Postwar-era Movies
To this day, Day’s run in iconic postwar-era movies continues to shape and influence women’s fashion and lifestyle choices. It is difficult to believe at first, that Doris Day’s appeal is large with her fresh voice and vibrant personality. She cited Ella Fitzgerald as one of her biggest influences as a vocalist, and her vivid persona and energy shined through even in her earliest roles.
What made her distinctive among her Hollywood peers was how she presented an alluring image of sexual purity. She exuded innocence and was rarely ever sexually provocative. Even in her more evocative films, Day still mages to evoke a combo of sex appeal and chastity. It was this delicate balance that Doris always managed to keep in check that made her such an enticing star.
While she had the opportunity to play more dramatic parts, she almost always turned down more nuanced roles, instead focusing more on rom-coms. Every one of Day’s romantic comedy roles is a very characteristic and unwavering formula that concocts to reward her virginal characters for holding out for marriage.
Symbol of Conservatism
Whether she was starring opposite to leading men like Rock Hudson, Cary Grant, or Clark Gable, the story was always the same. Through her charm, she always managed to convince these roguish characters to give up their Playboy lifestyles and propose to her instead. This formula resulted in rather titillating scenarios to play out while always stopping short of becoming overtly sexual.
So, in a way, Doris Day became this symbol of conservatism during a time that was defined by the counterculture’s hedonism. For the viewing public that wasn’t quite sold on the rapidly changing sociopolitical climate, she was an ever-present return to form – a reassuring dose of old-timey values in the face of a sexually promiscuous and indulgent youth who had grown tired of the prim and proper.
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Off-Screen Doris’ Life Was Far Less Idyllic
Doris Day’s personal life was not anything like the idealized image of womanhood and marriage that she came to represent. She even came to resent this image, at one point telling a biographer that her wholesome, girl-next-door, virginal persona was more make-believe than any film part that she ever played.
Throughout her life, Doris dealt with many difficult relationships that oftend turned violent, abusive and controlling. Her first husband, a musician that she had a child with, Day described as a physically abusive and manipulative psychopathic sadist. Her subsequent three marriages were likewise tumultuous. When her third husband, Martin Melcher, who controlled her finances, died in 1968, he left her with $500,000 in debt.
Doris’ Final Days Were Rife With Controversy And Abuse
Doris Day’s only grand kid, Ryan Melcher, posted on Facebook that Bob Bashara – Day’s business manager – had forbid him from seeing his notoriously reclusive grandmother in the months leading up to her death. Ryan’s father, Doris’ son Terry died in 2004. What’s strange about him is the fact that he never publicly spoke about his famous mother.
Ryan further claimed that Bashara had fired several individuals that sat on the board of Doris’ animal rescue organization and had swapped them out with several members of his family instead.
Beyond that, several people that were close to Day painted a grim picture of her final days as well. One of her former employees told The New York Post that she had spent the majority of her last ten years of life either in her bedroom or in her kitchen. She reportedly hardly ever used the rest of her house and wouldn’t want to talk about anything other than her dogs or fan mail that she had received.
Letters from Lif-long Fan
One person who frequently swapped letters with Day was life-long fan Mike Devita, who had written and received over 500 pieces of correspondence with the star in which they had exchanged extremely personal details of their respective lives.
The last letter that he received from Day was in April of 2019. According to Devita, Day was a very trusting person who was constantly manipulated throughout her life – especially by her husbands. According to him, she was always looking for the father figure that she never had.
When Doris was 10, she discovered that her dad, who worked as a music teacher, was engaged in an affair with the mother of her best friend. Accordingly to Devita, that experience profoundly affected her. So later on when she was abused by her various husbands, it was like having a hot iron stuck into her heart.
Her first husband, Al Jordon, beat her while pregnant with their son, Terry. After that marriage ended in divorce, Day married saxophonist George Weldler who became highly jealous of her fame. After divorcing him, Day married producer Marty Melcher, who notoriously squandered her fortune, leaving her with less than nothing when he died.
In her final years, Doris had very few friends. Fortunately, those close friends she did have still were there for her for the most part up until she died. But her family was all but absent from her life and after Terry, her son, died in 2004, she was left was a tremendous amount of emotional pain.
Bashara, a vet by trade, joined Day’s animal welfare foundation 20 years before her death. He quickly became her business manager and head of her foundation. As soon as Doris’ began experiencing cognitive decline, he allegedly seized the opportunity to make drastic changes to the organization that bore her name without fully consulting her.
Shortly after making her final public appearance at an event for her foundation in 2014, Day went into reclusion. In the final years of her life, the only people that surrounded her in her life were people she hardly even knew – primarily caregivers.
Her grandson, Ryan, said that he only found out about Day’s death via social media. He further admitted on Facebook that he hadn’t gotten a chance to spend much time with her since his childhood, mostly because of his father’s nasty divorce from his mother, Jacqueline Carlin. He was invited to dinner after Terry died, but when he showed up, Bashara blocked him from seeing his grandmother.
While Doris clearly wanted to reconnect with her grandson, Bashara, who had become her gatekeeper, wanted access to her all to himself.
At the time of her death, Day had a net worth of $4.5 million dollars. According to Bashara, Day had specified that she wanted her fortune to go to the Doris Day Animal Foundation, the organization he is now in control of. While that seems to be in line with Doris’ lifelong devotion to animals, it also obviously raises a few eyebrows, given Bashara’s involvement with the organization and his past behavior towards Doris’ family members.
Doris Day’s legacy will likely live on a lot longer than most stars’ will. She was a public figure who demanded respect and was highly revered by her legions of fans. Do you consider yourself a Doris Day fan? If so, what are some of your favorite memories of the late star? Let us know in the comments section down below.
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