Is Doris Day still alive

01:00 Tue 27th Mar 2001 The AnswerBank

A. Lord Panda asked this question. Comeleon answered it: Yes. Doris Day, real name Doris Mary Ann Von Kappelhoff, was born in Cincinnati on 3 April, 1924, and, as far as we know, is thriving in her life beyond the Hollywood screen.< xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


Q. Family biog please.

A. Why, certainly. Doris was born to German Catholic parents. She had two brothers: Richard, who died before she was born; and Paul, a few years older than her. Her father and mother split when she was about eight. She was brought up by her mother. At 12, she had a dance act with a boy called Jerry Doherty, with whom, after winning $500 in a talent contest, she went to Hollywood.


Q. And the rest, as they say, is history

A. Nope. On returning to Cincinnati, aged 14, Doris was in a bad car crash that almost ended her dancing career. At 16, Doris began touring as singer with the Les Brown Band, where she met Al Jorden, whom she later married. Soon after the birth of her son Terry in 1942, she started divorce proceedings. In 1946, she met and married George Weidler, but this lasted only eight months.


Q. So, when did the films start

A. In 1948 with Warner Brothers' Romance On The High Seas. While filming, she met Marty Melcher who became her agent and, on her 27th birthday, her husband. More of personal life later. Let's get on with the films.


Q. Go on then.

A. Many more films followed. She made three in 1950 and five in 1951. In 1953, Doris starred in the title role in Calamity Jane. Lucky Me followed in 1954, The Man Who Knew Too Much in 1956 and Pillow Talk in 1959. By the 1960s Doris, now known as America's sweetheart, wanted to slow down. Husband Marty was making too many deals and she was appearing in films that didn't interest her.


Q. An end was in sight

A. Yes, on the cinema screen at least. Doris was becoming exhausted and after The Glass Bottom Boat (1966) she went on to do her last film in 1968: With Six You Get An Egg Roll.


Q. And then

A. Marty Melcher died in 1968 and she found she had to concentrate on television from 1968 to 1973 with The Doris Day Show. It was a big hit.

Q.
Money problems

A. Absolutely. In her 1975 autobiography, Doris Day: Her Own Story, she said Melcher, who agreed to the TV series without consulting her, had wiped out her personal fortune. She later regained $22 million of it by suing a former lawyer for damages.


Q. What now

A. She married for the fourth time in 1976, to Barry Comden and since her divorce in 1980 has devoted her life to the Doris Day Pet Foundation. Doris now lives in the seaside town of Carmel, California, where she also owns and operates the Cyprus Inn with son Terry Melcher.


Q. Terry Melcher. The name's familiar.

A. He produced albums for the Byrds. It was his house that hippy mass murderer Charles Manson and his family were apparently looking for when they butchered Sharon Tate and friends.


Q. Weird. Anything else

A. Doris is a Christian Scientist and a vegetarian.


Q. Summed up

A. America's sweetheart.


Q. Come on, you can be bitchier than that.

A. OK. But the words are from Oscar Levant, pianist, composer and wit.


Q. Go on, then.

A. 'I knew Doris Day before she was a virgin.' Ouch.


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By Steve Cunningham


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