Remembering Doris Day, a Hollywood icon who danced, acted and sang her way in our hearts…
Doris made our Day as a sensational singer, as a fantastic actress in films and as a dancer showing off some marvellous moves in musicals.
Calamity Jane (1953) Official Trailer – Doris Day, Howard Keel Movie HD, Movieclips Classic Trailers
It was with much sadness that I learned of Doris Day’s recent passing from Darlin’ Husband. Despite the fact this actress only appeared in just 39 films and a handful of TV performances over 25 years in front of the cameras, she’s a famous acting name everyone knows. This not just because of her mention in the song Sandra Dee, where bitch (with a heart) Rizzo mimics wholesome Sandy in Grease (1978). But for Day’s infectious, warm and wholesome performances, and this often reflected in her movies.
Doris Day always gave a credible and giving performance with all her co-stars. Be it a then little pre-The Sound of Music‘s Gretl, Kym Karath in The Thrill of it All (1965) to an older Clark Gable in Teachers Pet (1958), Day shared the screen limelight with these stars. In her singing, acting or dance performances, she was a natural. Doris Day made you believe in her character. You believed in her, as she was that character. Not seen as an actress, playing a role but seen as a loved up Laurie Tuttle in Young at Heart (1954) or a caring mum in The Thrill of it All.
Day also showed she could act in a non-singing or musical role in her convincing performance in The Thrill of it All. Where you feel so absorbed by her believable portrayal, you don’t miss her belting out a track. Her on-screen romantic chemistry with James Garner – playing her husband – absorbed you in their roles. This rather than think of them as a singer for her, and James Rockford from The Rockford Files (1974-80) for him.
I watched many of her films as a kid. With a re-watch of Young at Heart and The Thrill of it All. I’ve also learned more on the off-screen facts behind these movies learning Day as delightful as she is off-screen as on screen. I’ve also discovered previously unseen treasures such as Teacher’s Pet and her last movie, With Six You Get Egg Roll (1968).
My favourite of her movies always has to be Young at Heart, and not just because of her co-star Gig Young. But I hated the way her character dated gregarious Gig Young’s Alex Burke then dumped him for a surly Sinatra in Barney Sloan. I really couldn’t fault the actress, especially in her rendition of You, My Love with ol’ blue eyes himself.
Another memorable performance, I’ve re-discovered is Calamity Jane (1953) showing her distinctive singing voice at its best. In her wonderful sparring (yet chemistry filled), with her leading man, Howard Keel. Which on watching this film years ago, I knew more of her than connecting him with Dallas (1978-91).
Just recently I read HERE, that Doris Day was interested in taking over the role of the Ewing matriarch Miss Ellie when Barbara Bel Geddes left the show. This part in a prime time soap would have reunited Doris Day with Keel, as Ellie’s love interest Clayton Farlow 31 years later. I’m sure if Day had been successful, there would have been records made of a different kind, with record-breaking viewers had the pair burst into a duet at the Southfork barbecue.