national opinion

Monday Column
Carol Platt Liebau

[go to Liebau index]

Latest Column:
Stopping the Meltdown
What Beltway Republicans Need To Do

Subscribe to CRO Alerts
Sign up for a weekly notice of CRO content updates.

Jon Fleischman’s
The premier source for
California political news

Michael Ramirez

editorial cartoon

Do your part to do right by our troops.
They did the right thing for you.
Donate Today

CRO Talk Radio
Contributor Sites
Laura Ingraham

Hugh Hewitt
Eric Hogue
Sharon Hughes
Frank Pastore
[Radio Home]

















Doug Gamble- Contributor

Doug Gamble is a former writer for President Ronald Reagan and resides in Carmel. [go to Gamble index]

Happy birthday, Doris Day
As pop culture hits new lows, the 'eternal virgin' looks better all the time

[Doug Gamble] 4/1/04

A short distance from where I'm writing this, an American icon is set to celebrate a landmark birthday. America's girl next door, Doris Day, turns 80 on Saturday.

A part-owner of The Cypress Inn in Carmel and one of the country's leading animal rescue champions, Ms. Day is probably little-known to most born after 1970. But to those of us a little older she represents an America that was simpler, kinder and classier.

Born Doris von Kappelhof in Cincinnati - she later took her stage name from the song "Day After Day" - her dream of becoming a dancer was dashed by a childhood car crash that left her with serious leg injuries. Turning to singing she became one of the best big-band vocalists of the 1940s, most notably with Les Brown, her distinct, crisp voice capable of conveying whatever emotion a song's lyrics required.

Many believe, as I do, that Ms. Day was underrated as a singer even while turning out a string of pop hits in the 1950s, including her trademark, "Que Sera, Sera." She is said to be more proud of her singing than her acting, and, while she seldom watches her old movies on TV, she will stop and take notice when one of her songs is played on the radio.

Often overlooked in Ms. Day's film career, where she became associated with fluffy romantic comedies, was just how accomplished a dramatic actress she was in movies such as "Midnight Lace," "The Man Who Knew Too Much," and, in arguably her best screen performance, "Love Me or Leave Me." In the latter she played the lead in the true story of 1930s singing star Ruth Etting, a part she won after already-cast James Cagney convinced MGM she had the necessary depth and talent as both an actress and singer. Beating out superstar Ava Gardner for the role, Ms. Day was required to play very much against type, smoking, drinking and enduring verbal and physical abuse that included a violent sexual assault scene.

Years later she would turn down the part of Mrs. Robinson in "The Graduate," saying, "I could not see myself rolling around in the sheets with a young man half my age who I'd seduced. It offended my sense of values." Anne Bancroft, who played the role, received an Academy Award nomination for best actress.

In her lighter movies, made before the women's liberation movement took shape, Ms. Day often chose roles that were ahead of the times, playing strong-willed, successful women in movies such as "Teacher's Pet," "Lover Come Back" and "Pillow Talk," for which she received her only Oscar nomination for best actress. And while many who saw her squeaky-clean performances ridiculed her as the eternal virgin, I admired her for portraying savvy, independent women too discriminating to be bedded by any guy long on libido but short on commitment.

Ms. Day revealed recently that she has struck up a friendship with Paul McCartney, ironic in that the Beatles were part of the counterculture whose revolution essentially ended her career and that of others like her who represented the "square" values of the 1950s and early '60s. Planning a visit to Carmel with new wife Heather Mills, McCartney phoned Ms. Day, told her he was a life-long fan and asked to meet her, a request that resulted in an invitation to her home and a continuing bond between them.

Through an often-tumultuous life that included physical abuse from her first two husbands and financial setbacks that might sink lesser spirits, Ms. Day fits the true definition of survivor. Looking to retire in 1968, she discovered her deceased third husband and manager, Marty Melcher, had left her saddled with bankruptcy and a commitment to a TV series she knew nothing about. She honored the commitment, doing "The Doris Day Show" from 1968 until 1973, and repaid her debts.

Ms. Day is an American treasure who deserves to be honored with a long-overdue special Academy Award for her body of work. And at a time when U.S. culture is defined by the lewd and crude, she looks better all the time. CRO

Copyright 2004 Doug Gamble




Blue Collar -  120x90
120x90 Jan 06 Brand
Free Trial Static 02
ActionGear 120*60
Free Trial Static 01
Applicable copyrights indicated. All other material copyright 2003-2005