Doris Day is no longer with us but what a remarkable legacy she left for us to enjoy. Click here to listen back to the show I recorded featuring her wonderful voice.
Though she was a remarkable singer, her first love was dance and in the mid 30s she was part of a dance duo performing locally until an injury from a car accident put an end to that. While recovering, she started to sing along with the radio to Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, and Ella Fitzgerald and discovered a talent she did not know she had.
Her newly engaged singing teacher was so impressed, she gave her three lessons a week for the price of one and before long she was getting professional work most notably with band leader Barney Rapp. He auditioned about 200 singers before hiring Doris, and it was his idea to change her surname from "Kappelhoff" to Day. Before long she was working with Les Brown and had her first hit with "Sentimental Journey". It was a match made in heaven. Between 1945–1946, they had six more top ten hits together: "My Dreams Are Getting Better All the Time", "'Tain't Me", "Till The End of Time", "You Won't Be Satisfied (Until You Break My Heart)", "The Whole World is Singing My Song", and one of my favourite Irving Berlin songs from Annie Get Your Gun, “I Got the Sun in the Mornin'". It was her performance of “Embraceable You” that led to her first major movie role. Songwriters Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn, heard it, loved it and and recommended her for a role in 1948's Romance on the High Seas. Despite having no acting experience she got the part and there began her hugely successful Hollywood career.
As the sexual revolution of the 60s took hold, she began to find her wholesome brand fall out of fashion. One of the roles she turned down was "Mrs. Robinson" in The Graduate, because she found the script "vulgar and offensive". Things got worse in 1968, when she discovered her late husband had squandered her earnings, leaving her deeply in debt. He'd also signed her up for a TV series which became The Doris Day Show without anyone asking her. She made the best of it and though it was a success eventually the public was looking for something new.
She spent her later years away from the public eye caring for her many pets and adopting stray animals. RIP Doris Day.