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Doris Day Biography

Doris Day

One of America's most prolific actresses was born Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her parents divorced while she was still a child and she lived with her mother. Like most little girls, Doris liked to dance. She aspired to become a professional ballerina, but an automobile accident that crushed a leg ended whatever hopes she had of dancing on stage. It was a terrible setback, but after taking singing lessons she found a new vocation, and began singing with local bands. She met trombonist Al Jorden, whom she married in 1941. Jorden was prone to violence and they divorced after two years, not long after the birth of their son Terry. In 1946, Doris married George Weidler, but this union lasted less than a year. Day's agent talked her into taking a screen test at Warner Bros.
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The executives there liked what they saw and signed her to a contract (her early credits are often confused with those of another actress named Doris Day, who appeared mainly in B westerns in the 1930s and 1940s). Her first starring movie role was in Romance on the High Seas (1948). The next year, she made two more films, My Dream Is Yours (1949) and It's a Great Feeling (1949). Audiences took to her beauty, terrific singing voice and bubbly personality, and she turned in fine performances in the movies she made (in addition to several hit records). She made three films for Warner Bros. in 1950 and five more in 1951. In that year, she met and married Martin Melcher, who adopted her young son Terry, who later grew up to become Terry Melcher, a successful record producer. In 1953, Doris starred in Calamity Jane (1953), which was a major hit, and several more followed: Lucky Me (1954), Love Me or Leave Me (1955), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) and what is probably her best-known film, Pillow Talk (1959). She began to slow down her filmmaking pace in the 1960s, even though she started out the decade with a hit, Please Don't Eat the Daisies (1960).Her husband, who had also taken charge of her career, had made deals for her to star in films she didn't really care about, which led to a bout with exhaustion. The 1960s weren't to be a repeat of the previous busy decade. She didn't make as many films as she had in that decade, but the ones she did make were successful: Do Not Disturb (1965), The Glass Bottom Boat (1966), Where Were You When the Lights Went Out? (1968) and With Six You Get Eggroll (1968). Martin Melcher died in 1968, and Doris never made another film, but she had been signed by Melcher to do her own TV series, "The Doris Day Show" (1968). That show, like her movies, was also successful, lasting until 1973. After her series went off the air, she made only occasional TV appearances. Today, she runs the Doris Day Animal League in Carmel, California, which advocates homes and proper care of household pets. What else would you expect of America's sweetheart?

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