Do you know I’m the top-rated female box office celebrity of all time? That’s pretty darn amazing considering my movie career was over by the late 1960s.
I became the victim of my pop culture self—type-cast as the wholesome, girl-next-store sweetheart, but that’s who I really was. The parents of young baby boomers loved me as a role model. Girls, be Doris Day. Boys, marry Doris Day.
But…the times, they were a’ changin’. Soon those baby boomers wanted edgier, sexier female stars like Elizabeth Taylor or Cybil Shepard or Tuesday Weld. No one was naming girls Doris anymore.
The so-called sexual revolution of the 1960s made me passe. I might have changed with the times, but it wasn’t in my heart. I turned down one of the great movie roles as notorious Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate on moral grounds. Can you even imagine me as Mrs. Robinson?
I was the brunt of baby boomer jibes as “the world’s oldest virgin.” That quip “I knew Doris Day before she was a virgin” became a national pop culture joke.
At my career declined, I discovered upon my second husband’s death that the snake had squandered all my earnings and left me in debt. I recovered $22 million in 1969, then the largest civil judgment ever in California.
Next I learned he had committed me to a television series. I hate doing TV, but I honored the contract and dragged through The Doris Day Show for five years. If you even remember it, you probably didn’t like it. Neither did I. It was called lightweight and the ratings were mediocre.
Just for the record, I’m not the white bread fuddy-duddy I was made out to be. I had four marriages and advise living with someone before you get hitched.
Today, even though my health is failing (I just had my 89th birthday, believe it or not), I’m still active in my life-long passion, the protection of God’s animals. My fourth and final husband said when we divorced that I cared more for my “animal friends” than him. It’s the only time he was right.
Doris Day never won an Academy Award, but did receive a Best Actress nomination for Pillow Talk.
In 1940, an agent suggested she change her last name from Kappelhoff to Day. He said Kappelhoff was too long for marquees.
BABY BOOMER TRIVIA QUESTIONS
►One of these leading men did not co-star with Doris Day in a movie.
►MATCH GAME: Connect the spouses
Robert Wagner, Mel Brooks, Bobby Darin, Peter Sellers
Answers at end of post
DORIS DAY DITTIES:
“Wrinkles are hereditary. Parents get them from their children.”
“The really frightening thing about middle age is the knowledge that you’ll grow out of it.”
“Any girl can look glamorous … just stand there and look stupid.”
THIS DAY IN BABY BOOMER HISTORY
1997: Baseball honors Jackie Robinson by retiring his jersey #42 for all teams.
1992: “Only the little people pay taxes.” Billionaire Leona Helmsly is sent to jail for tax evasion.
1983: Tokyo Disneyland opens.
1981: Should have been the fiction winner. Journalist Janet Cooke says her Pulitzer Prize story about an 8-year-old heroin addict story is a fabrication. The Washington Post relinquishes the award.
1975: First appearance of the San Diego Chicken Mascot.
1972: Barbra Striesand, James Taylor, Carole King and Quincy Jones perform at a George McGovern for President benefit.
1971: George C. Scott refuses the Best Actor Award for Patton. His statement:
“The [Academy Awards] ceremonies are a two-hour meat parade, a public display with contrived suspense for economic reasons.”
“I have nothing against Oscar. I know what he stands for and it’s terrific. And I think when people used to hang around and pat each other on the back over a drink and dinner it was wonderful. But when it became an international hoopla, where careers lived and died on whether or not you did or didn’t get an Oscar, then it got out of hand.”
1961: Music Man closes on Broadway after 1375 performances.
1959: He used it up fast. Fidel Castro begins his U.S. goodwill tour.
1958: Gunsmoke is the Best Dramatic Series on television. The Tonight Show wins Best New Show.
1958: First major league baseball game in California—San Francisco Giants beat Los Angeles Dodgers 8-0
1957: Congress gives Post Office $41 million to restore Saturday mail delivery.
1955: Ray Kroc opens his first McDonald’s chain of fast food restaurants in Illinois.
The Start of Something Big
ANSWERS TO BABY BOOMER TRIVIA QUESTIONS
► Tab Hunter never co-starred with Doris Day.
► MARRIAGE MATCH GAME
Ann Bancroft ♥ Mel Brooks
Natalie Wood ♥ Robert Wagner
Brit Ekland ♥ Peter Sellers
Sandra Dee ♥ Bobby Darin