Considering Doris Day
by: Tom Santopietro
Published by: Thomas Dunne Books
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Reviewed by Connie Anderson
When I told an 85-year-old friend that I was reading Doris Day’s biography, she said, “I always wanted to be like Doris Day.”
Doris Day (yes, she’s still alive) was born on April 3, 1924 and was 83 spring p 2007. She started as a singer and became associated with big bands, traveling with them around the country. And by 18, she was a single parent of son Terry, divorced from his abusive father, also in a big band.
The author (who also wrote a definitive work about Barbara Streisand—The Importance of Being Barbara) details Doris Day’s movies, starting in 1948 when she was 24. She made 17 movies under Warner Brother’s contract—sometimes up to three a year. In some she was allowed to sing and dance, using her pitch-perfect voice. Some movies were drama. She could do comedy, drama, sing and dance with the best of them.
In her prolific signing career, she recorded more than 600 songs from 1948 to 1967. She did not get to choose what movies she would do—because of the studio contract system-but as Doris Day would often say: A deal is a deal.
After leaving Warners in 1954, she starred in many more movies. Alfred Hitchcock directed a very believable Doris Day in The Man Who Knew Too Much.
Whatever she did, she did her best. So what happened that she quit in 1968 after making more than 40 movies? After doing a TV show until 1986, she just disappeared from public eye. Some say the sexual revolution, women’s rights and role changing made her kind of movies passe.
The author recapped her career nicely at the end of the book, giving an overview of her talent, successes and vast work. Ask most women of a certain age which Doris Day movie they loved the best, and they might mention Pillow Talk or the one co-staring James Garner, where she went through the car wash with the convertible top down. Doris Day was everywhere for many years—and we loved that she sang, danced and acted her way into our hearts. If we admired Doris Day, I image the men in our lives envied her many leading men.
Her life, loves and her son Terry play a big role in the book—and of course her many years of animal rights advocacy.
Armchair Interviews says: If you loved Doris Day’s public life, and want to know more about her private life, this book is for you.
From our armchair to yours...