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Doris Day: Biography & Filmography

Updated on July 27, 2014

The girl next door. The romantic lead. The comic relief. The beautiful voice. The serious actress. The animal activist.

Doris Day has held many titles. She is truly a powerhouse. Singing and dancing from an early age, Doris Day made a leap into feature films that propelled her forward through a long list of box office hits. She starred alongside actors such as James Garner, (The Thrill of it All, Move Over Darling) Rock Hudson, (Pillow Talk, Lover Come Back, Send Me No Flowers) and James Cagney (West Point Story, Starlift, Love Me or Leave Me) just to name a few.

A Doris of Many Talents...
A Doris of Many Talents... | Source
Doris Day and one of her beloved pets at home in California.
Doris Day and one of her beloved pets at home in California. | Source


Doris Day was born Doris Mary Ann von Kapplehoff in Cincinnati, Ohio on April 3, 1924. She took on the stage name 'Day' in 1941, at the age of seventeen, when she began singing and dancing on stage.

She has been married four times, (Al Jorden 1941-43, George Weidler 1946-49, Martin Melcher 1951-his death in 1968 and Barry Comden 1976-81) divorced three, and had one child during her first marriage, Terry (b.1942, d. 2004), now deceased.

After an impressive career in showbusiness spanning some forty plus years, Doris Day has devoted her life to animal welfare. She created the Doris Day Animal League which later merged with the Human Society. Her creation, Spay Day USA, a one day spay/neuter event for pets, is still going strong within the organization.

She currently lives in Carmel, California.

A Mini Bio of Doris on CBS Sunday Morning 7-12-09

Doing radio work with Bob Hope in 1947.
Doing radio work with Bob Hope in 1947. | Source

Doris singing When I Fall In Love

Singing Career

In 1939, seventeen year old Doris began her singing career with some of the Big Bands popular at the time. Her first hit was Sentimental Journey, introduced at the end of the Second World War, a perfect soundtrack to the soldiers that were then returning home.

Doris had always been attracted to music and dance and had even been part of a dance duo in the thirties until her legs were damaged in a car accident. While recovering, she continued to sing and even took singing lessons. By 1945, she had her first major hit.

She was signed by Columbia Records in 1947 as a solo artist after two popular records with Les Brown and his orchestra. She went on to do radio work with Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra before a performance at a Hollywood party which led to a screen test and, eventually, her first film role in 1948, Romance on the High Seas.

That role was then followed by many more, including several successful musicals. Day took many opportunities to combine her love of song and dance with her acting career.

Doris Day has several hit songs under her belt as well as films. They include: Sentimental Journey, When I Fall In Love, Dream a Little Dream, Que Sera Sera and Secret Love, among others.

Putting her hands in cement outside the Chinese Theater.
Putting her hands in cement outside the Chinese Theater. | Source

Film Career

Doris Day appeared in thirty-nine films from 1948 to 1968. These films fell into many genres, including comedy, mystery, musical, western, romance, thriller and drama. Doris Day has proven that she is a versatile actress that can fit into many molds. She has starred with some of the greatest actress and actors of her time and incorporated her other talents, such as singing and dancing, into her film roles.

When asked which was her favorite role, Day told an interviewer it would have to be Calamity Jane. She said she felt as if that were the role that was most like her real self- a tomboy that still liked to be a little girly at times. However, it might be her role as Jan Morrow in the classic Pillow Talk with Rock Hudson that is her most well known.

Lullaby of Broadway 1951

Calamity Jane with Howard Keel


Romance on the High Seas - 1948

My Dream Is Yours - 1949 costarred Eve Arden

It's a Great Feeling - 1949

Young Man with a Horn - 1950 costarred Lauren Bacall and Kirk Douglas

Tea for Two - 1950 costarred Eve Arden

West Point Story - 1950 costarred Virginia Mayo and James Cagney

Starlift - 1951 costarred Virginia Mayo, James Cagney and Jane Wyman

Storm Warning - 1951 costarred Ronald Reagan and Ginger Rogers

Lullaby of Broadway - 1951

On Moonlight Bay - 1951

I'll See You in My Dreams - 1951 costarred Danny Thomas

The Winning Team - 1952 costarred Ronald Reagan

April in Paris - 1952 costarred Ray Bolger

By the Light of the Silvery Moon - 1953

Calamity Jane - 1953 costarred Howard Keel

Lucky Me - 1954 costarred Phil Silvers

Teacher's Pet with Clark Gable

Young at Heart - 1954 costarred Gig Young, Ethel Barymore and Frank Sinatra

Love Me or Leave Me - 1955 costarred James Cagney

The Man Who Knew Too Much - 1956 costarred James Stewart

Julie - 1957

The Pajama Game - 1957

Teacher's Pet - 1958 costarred Mamie Van Doren, Clark Gable and Gig Young

The Tunnel of Love - 1958 costarred Gig Young

It Happened to Jane - 1959 costarred Jack Lemmon and Ernie Kovacs

Pillow Talk - 1959 costarred Tony Randall, Thelma Ritter and Rock Hudson

Please Don't Eat the Daisies - 1960 costarred David Niven

Midnight Lace - 1960 costarred Roddy McDowell, Myrna Loy and Rex Harrison

Lover Come Back - 1961 costarred Tony Randall, Edie Adams and Rock Hudson

That Touch of Mink - 1962 costarred Gig Young and Cary Grant

Billy Rose's Jumbo - 1962 costarred Jimmy Durante

The Thrill of It All - 1963 costarred James Garner

Move Over, Darling - 1963 costarred James Garner and Polly Bergen

Send Me No Flowers - 194 costarred Tony Randall and Rock Hudson

Do Not Disturb - 1965

The Glass Bottom Boat - 1966 costarred Paul Lynde

The Ballad of Josie - 1967 costarred Peter Graves

Caprice - 1967

Where Were You When the Lights Went Out? - 1968

With Six You Get Eggroll - 1968 costarred Brian Keith and Barbara Hershey

A contagious smile.
A contagious smile. | Source

Doris Day continues to be one of the most beloved actresses of all time. Her films have remained popular despite the years that have passed since their release. Her talent is undeniable and her roles can provoke laughter, tears or both. The original triple threat, Doris Day is the type of actress, the type of woman, young Hollywood should be looking up to.

Throughout life, her faith has allowed her to remain smiling and joyous despite the untimely deaths of a husband, a dear friend and her beloved son. After decades of singing, dancing and appearing in films and television series, her life has since been devoted to animal welfare and her efforts have helped saved countless pets.

Each year, as a tribute to the icon on her birthday, people around the country celebrate. Radio stations still send out wishes to her every year and, if you are listening, you might even hear Doris herself call in.

Through it all, Doris Day has remained a shining example of how to do it right.

Costars and friends.
Costars and friends. | Source


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    • profile image

      Vineesh 3 years ago

      4260Everything published was altuacly very reasonable. But, what about this? what if you wrote a catchier title? I ain't saying your information is not solid., but suppose you added a headline to maybe grab folk's attention? I mean Palestine's Tea Party | Silenced Voices is kinda boring. You could peek at Yahoo's front page and note how they write post titles to grab people to click. You might add a related video or a pic or two to grab people excited about what you've got to say. Just my opinion, it could bring your posts a little bit more interesting.43

    • profile image

      Yogesh 3 years ago

      I appreciate your kind and geuneors advice a lot!. I have been trying it hardly and did not get those amazing results!. It is nice to see that you got my comment in a good way!God bless you!VA:F [1.9.10_1130]please wait VA:F [1.9.10_1130](from 0 votes)

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      Michael Beechem 4 years ago

      Dear Ms. Day,

      Last night my wife and I had the extreme pleasure of enjoying once again another of your wonderful films, By the Light of the Silvery Moon. I am, however, more interested in conveying to you my delight in your passion for animal rights. I thank you for your advocacy to such a viable cause.

      Michael Beechem

    • profile image

      cmfloering 4 years ago

      Dear Doris,

      YOU ROCK!



    • profile image

      Mimi 5 years ago

      Dear Swwet Doris. I too am a Pet love I have both seprt pets a puppy & a cat well I take good care of them I love them never stop put ing my arms around them Lola was very abused I save her now she's happy. Love your Movies & you dear! Mimi

    • To Start Again profile image

      Selina Kyle 6 years ago

      She is quite amazing, isn't she Plarson? Her films are incredible and I am a huge fan :)

    • Plarson profile image

      Plarson 6 years ago from Alabama

      TSA- Wow, I had no idea she had done so much in films. The singing career I kinda knew about, for my mom loved her music and had alot of her albums. Thank You. -Paul

    • To Start Again profile image

      Selina Kyle 6 years ago

      I just love her :) Move Over Darling was one of the first old movies I ever watched! Started my ever growing love affair...

    • tony0724 profile image

      tony0724 6 years ago from san diego calif

      Man this hub brings back some memories. My Mom went ape for Doris Day. And in Jr. High I had an art teacher who used to play her records when we were doing our art projects.

    • To Start Again profile image

      Selina Kyle 6 years ago

      well put mckbird!!

      I love her too Randy :)

      Thanks Jewels! I adore her films :)

    • Jewels profile image

      Jewels 6 years ago from Australia

      I also am a Doris Day fan, from the sound of her voice to her lovely smile. I've seen most of her films - how could you not being a baby boomer! Great hub.

    • Randy Behavior profile image

      Randy Behavior 6 years ago from Near the Ocean

      I just love Doris Day. Thank you so much for sharing this. She said in her interview up there she's a late bloomer, made me laugh. In a way I think I am too.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 6 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      I couldn't agree with you more. She is a part of the American fabric.