In my role as conservative writer, I’m at times compelled to comment on Hollywood.
And it’s not always a glowing review.
But the truth is, I love Hollywood.
And part of what I love is old Hollywood — old movies, old television shows, old actors and actresses.
So it is with great sadness that I write these words: On Monday, Doris Day passed away at the age of 97.
Yet, as with all Tinseltown legends, she will live forever in her work. And in the memories she made for people like me — people who loved her presence onscreen.
Fox News reported Doris’s passing, confirmed by an email from the Doris Day Animal Foundation. According to Fox, “[S]he was surrounded by close friends and ‘had been in excellent physical health for her age, until recently contracting a serious case of pneumonia.'”
Beginning her film career in 1948, the delightful actress made a huge splash in the late 50’s, starring in G-rated sex comedies. A talented singer, she lent her unmistakable soprano to films and vinyl recordings. And her voice — like her appearance and demeanor — was sunny, pleasant, and wonderful. She seemed the embodiment of happiness.
But behind the scenes, the iconic performer suffered through the death of her only child (a son), three failed marriages, and the loss of another husband. That man squandered much of her fortune, leaving her in great debt.
And she wasn’t precisely in real life how she appeared before the audience.
Given her wholesome image, she no doubt shocked many readers with this line from her 1976 autobiography, Doris Day: Her Own Story:
“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.”
Once speaking of the actress, entertainer Oscar Levant quipped, “I knew Doris Day before she became a virgin.”
Whatever her realities behind the curtain, on film, Doris was a pleasure to behold.
Co-starring with Jimmy Stewart in Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much, she charmed the world with the song “Que Sera, Sera.”
In Pillow Talk — with Rock Hudson and the great Tony Randall — she gave us a celluloid masterpiece of early 60’s winking frivolity.
Simply put, Doris Day is America’s sweetheart. She remained so in her last years, as she would sometimes go onto her balcony and speak with fans (see the videos below).
And she’s still speaking — through her characters and songs and the beauty and grace she contributed to 20th century entertainment.
She’ll be missed, but her work will not — we still have that part of her. Thank God. And thank you, Ms. Day.
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