Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I felt a painful tug o’the heart when I read the news: Doris Day, dead this week at 97. Atta girl, giving it such a long go.
Yes, I’m a big fan. She had that elusive image of a wholesome sexpot — and I think she was both. Boy could she sing, too. And act, as fans learned after producers finally took her seriously enough to give her tougher roles.
And she laughed. A lot. And cried. A lot — both by her own admission.
Here’s more than you probably knew about this classy American star of screen, radio, and recording studio for more than 60 years, Doris Mary Ann Von Kappelhoff:
“Calamity Jane” was her favorite film, and she said playing that character was more like playing herself than any other.
An Ohio native, Doris was no wilting flower. For her generation, she had progressive views:
“I have the unfortunate reputation of being Miss Goody Two-Shoes, America’s Virgin, and all that, so I’m afraid it’s going to shock some people for me to say this, but I staunchly believe no two people should get married until they have lived together,” she wrote.
Her mom named her after silent movie actress Doris Kenyon.
Her first love was dancing, but a leg injury from an auto-train accident ruined her plans to be professional dancer.
She made two films with Ronald Reagan.
Paul McCartney called her “a true star in more ways than one.”
She loved animals, and started a foundation dedicated to their welfare.
Rock Hudson was her favorite co-star and best friend (on two legs).
Her last film was “With Six You Get Eggroll” in 1968 (she still did TV, music, and live appearances afterward).
Her son, Terry, died in 2004 — a big blow. Terry was his mom’s comforting shoulder through tough times, including failed marriage, widowhood, and financial problems.
That same year, President George W. Bush awarded Doris the Presidential Medal of Freedom, but she was scared to fly so she skipped the ceremony, as well as her honorary Academy Award and Kennedy Center Award.
She was uncharacteristically humble for an actor, asking for no memorial service, and no marker.
Doris, marker or no, some of us will remember you for a long time — and miss your bright, feisty face.
Sholeh Patrick is a columnist for the Hagadone News Network and avid Doris Day fan in mourning. Send sympathies to Sholeh@cdapress.com.