Sarah Weller writes about her upcoming show, ‘Doris Day: 20 Years in Film’.
Doris Day: everyone’s ‘secret love’? There’s no secret to my admiration and respect to one of the funniest actresses with the pure voice who can out-sing many of jazz’s finest (she was a huge admirer of Ella Fitzgerald after-all and drew inspiration from her). Like most people of my generation I discovered Doris on reruns of old movies shown and watched on rainy Sunday afternoons while I should have been doing my homework.
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In hindsight, the feminist in me admires the strong roles she took on and if you watch her films you can see 50s and 60s society and the many rapid changes that were going on in America: the rise of the unions in The Pyjama Game; the changing role of the housewife in The Thrill of It All, as women entered the workforce, freed of their childbearing years; car mechanic in By the Light of the Silvery Moon, pistol packing prairie girl in Calamity Jane; advertising exec in Lover Come Back; lobster business owner in It Happened to Jane; communism, spies and the space age in The Glass Bottomed Boat; and interior designer in Pillow Talk, but each part played in her usual feisty and completely natural way. Yes, she often played the singer or aspiring musical starlet, a clichéd female role in accordance with the taste and style of Hollywood in the late 40s, but above all, she was a modern woman who tried to do it all while balancing family, home and a successful career.
In her short (20 years) working history in films she made 39 films and during that time she also recorded 30 albums. She’ll be 88 on the 3rd April and she is still number three in the movie stars of all time so finally in January of this year she was awarded a lifetime achievement award for her career in film by the film critics association.
Sarah Weller and the Mad Men present Doris Day: 20 years in film
Ronnie Scott’s – Sunday (lunch) 1st April 1300 – 1500.
If Doris Day is #3 all-time top movie star, who are #1 and #2?
We are on the same page. I'm a lot older than you – I grew up with her movies and hit records – and after all of these years I'm even more in love with Doris Day and so thankful for all of the joy she has brought to us all.
Best of luck with your presentation.
John Reed, San Francisco, CA
According to the Quigley Poll which has been conducted for more than 80 years to determine, annually, the top box-office attractions, Miss Day is the number one female box-office attraction of all time. In 2012 dollars, the worldwide gross for her 39 films would approach 5 billion dollars.
Paul E. Brogan