DORIS DAY Biography - Musicians


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Name: Doris Mary Ann von Kappelhoff                                                       
Born: April 3, 1924 , Cincinnati, Ohio, United States                                     
Doris Mary Ann von Kappelhoff (born April 3, 1924) is an American singer,                 
actress, and animal welfare advocate known as Doris Day. A vivacious blonde with           
a wholesome image, Day was one of the most prolific actresses of the 1950s and             
1960s. Able to sing, dance, and play comedy and dramatic roles, she is                     
considered by some to be an all-round star. She has almost 40 films to her                 
credit and has recorded approximately 45 albums and her personality has                   
permeated many popular movies.                                                             
Day was born in Evanston, a neighborhood within the City of Cincinnati, Ohio, to           
Alma Sophia Welz and William/Wilhelm Kappelhoff; three of her grandparents were           
German immigrants, at least one of them was Dutch. The youngest of three, she             
had two brothers, Richard, who died before she was born and Paul, a few years             
older. She was named after silent movie actress Doris Kenyon, whom her mother             
admired.[citation needed] Her family was Roman Catholic and her parents were               
known to have divorced. She later embraced Christian Science. Growing up in the           
1930s Day developed an interest in dance, and by mid 1930s formed a dance duo             
that performed locally in Cincinnati until a car accident damaged her legs and             
curtailed her prospects as a professional dancer. However, while recovering Day           
took up singing. Soon she began to take lessons and at age 17 began performing             
locally. It was while working for local bandleader Barney Rapp that she adopted           
the stage name "Day" as an alternative to "Kappelhoff", at his suggestion as he           
felt her last name was too long. After working with Rapp, Day worked with a               
number of other bandleaders including Bob Crosby and Les Brown. It was while               
working with Brown that Day scored her first hit recording Sentimental Journey,           
which was released in early 1945 and soon became anthematic of the desire of               
demobilizing troops to return home. To some extent this song is still associated           
with Day, and was notably re-recorded by her on several occasions, as well as             
being included in her 1971 television special.                                             
During her time with Les Brown, and a brief stint with Bob Hope, Day toured               
extensively across the United States. Her popularity as a radio performer and             
vocalist, including a second hit record My Dreams Are Getting Better All The               
Time, led directly to a career in films. After her separation from second                 
husband George Weidler in 1948, Day was set to leave Los Angeles and return to             
her mother's home in Cincinnati, when her agent, Al Levy, convinced her to                 
attend a party at the home of composer Jule Styne. Her personal circumstances at           
the time and her reluctance to perform contributed to an emotive performance of           
Embraceable You which greatly impressed Styne and his partner, Sammy Cahn. They           
then recommended her for a role in Romance on the High Seas (which they were               
working on for Warner Bros.). The withdrawal of Betty Hutton due to pregnancy             
left the main role to be re-cast. Thus, Day began her film career, in 1948, in a           
"peppy" Hutton-esque role. (The film was digitally remastered and released on             
DVD in May 2007.)                                                                         
The success of this film established her as a popular movie personality, and               
provided her within another hit recording It's Magic. In 1950, US servicemen in           
Korea voted her their favorite star. Early publicity saddled her with such                 
unflattering nicknames as "The Tomboy with a Voice" and "The Golden Tonsil." She           
continued to make saccharine and somewhat low-level musicals such as Starlift,             
By the Light of the Silvery Moon, and Tea For Two for Warner Bros., but 1953               
found Day as pistol-packin' Calamity Jane in what has become one of Hollywood's           
most enduring musicals, winning the Academy Award for Best Original Song for "Secret       
Love.". Her recording of which became her fourth US "Number One" recording.               
After filming Young At Heart, a lackluster musical, Day chose not to renew her             
contract with Warner Bros. and instead freelanced under the management of her             
third husband, Martin Melcher. As a consequence, the range of roles she played             
broadened to include more dramatic roles. In 1955, she received some of the best           
notices of her career for her portrayal of singer Ruth Etting in Love Me or               
Leave Me, co-starring James Cagney. Doris would later call it, in her                     
autobiography, her best film. She continued to be paired with some of Hollywood's         
biggest male stars, including Jack Lemmon, James Stewart, Cary Grant, David               
Niven and Clark Gable.                                                                     
In Alfred Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much, she sang "Whatever Will Be,               
Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)", which won an Academy Award for Best Original Song.             
According to Jay Livingston (who wrote the song with Ray Evans), Day preferred             
another song used briefly in the film, "We'll Love Again", and skipped the                 
recording for Que Sera, Sera. When the studio pushed her, she relented, but               
after recording the number in one take, she reportedly told a friend of                   
Livingston's, "That's the last time you'll ever hear that song." The song was             
used again in her 1960 film, Please Don't Eat the Daisies and was reprised as a           
brief duet with Arthur Godfrey in The Glass Bottom Boat; it also became the               
theme song for her television show. This was her only film for Hitchcock and, as           
she admitted in her memoirs, she was initially concerned at his lack of                   
direction; she finally asked him if anything was wrong and he said everything             
was fine; if she wasn't doing what he wanted he would have said something.                 
After the great critical and popular success of Teacher's Pet, Day's popularity           
at the US box office seemed to wane and some critical attention focused on                 
perceived elements of "blandness" in her on-screen persona, although in some               
foreign markets (Germany, Britain and the Commonwealth), she remained a top box           
office draw. A dynamic performance in The Pajama Game received warm critical               
notices, but box office returns were disappointing. In the case of The Tunnel of           
Love and It Happened to Jane, both the critical and popular response was uneven.           
As a result, during the period 1957 to 1959, she was no longer regarded a "Top             
Ten Box Office Draw" by US film exhibitors. Arguably, this development may have           
been linked to the marked decline in popularity of musical films during the late           
1950s, and some poor choices in material made by Melcher on Day's behalf, rather           
than any waning in public regard. In addition, Day's popularity as a recording             
artist was diminished due to the growing popular taste for rock and roll. "Que             
Sera, Sera," for instance, was never a "US Number One," being kept from the top           
spot by Elvis Presley's recording of "Hound Dog."