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Doris Day

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Title: Doris Day  
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Subject: 1954 in music, 1955 in music, Starlift, 1953 in music, 1951 in music
Collection: 1920S Births, 20Th-Century American Actresses, 20Th-Century American Singers, Actresses from Cincinnati, Ohio, Age Controversies, American Christian Scientists, American Female Pop Singers, American Film Actresses, American Memoirists, American People of German Descent, American Television Actresses, American Television Talk Show Hosts, Animal Rights Advocates, Big Band Singers, California Republicans, Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, Cecil B. Demille Award Golden Globe Winners, Columbia Records Artists, Converts to Christian Science, Doris Day, Former Roman Catholics, Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award Winners, Living People, Musicians from Cincinnati, Ohio, People from Monterey County, California, Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipients, Torch Singers, Traditional Pop Music Singers, Warner Bros. Contract Players
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Doris Day

Doris Day
Publicity photo, 1957
Born Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff
(1922-04-03) April 3, 1922 or (1924-04-03) April 3, 1924 [1]
Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.
Nationality American
Occupation Actress, singer, animal rights activist
Years active 1939–present
1948–1973 (acting)
Religion Christian Scientist
Spouse(s) Al Jorden (m. 1941–43)
Martin Melcher (m. 1951–68)
Barry Comden (m. 1976–81)
Children Terry Melcher (1942–2004)
Website .comdorisday

Doris Day (born Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff; April 3, 1922 or 1924)[1] is an American actress, singer, and animal rights activist.

Day began her career as a big band singer in 1939. Her popularity began to rise after her first hit recording "Sentimental Journey", in 1945. After leaving Les Brown & His Band of Renown to embark on a solo career, Day started her long-lasting partnership with Columbia Records, which remained her only recording label. The contract lasted from 1947 to 1967 and included more than 650 recordings, making Day one of the most popular and acclaimed singers of the 20th century. In 1948, after being persuaded by songwriters Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne and by Al Levy, her agent at the time, she auditioned for film director Michael Curtiz, which led to her being cast as the female lead in Romance on the High Seas.

Over the course of her career, Day appeared in 39 films. She was ranked the biggest box-office star, the only woman appearing on that list in the era, for four years (1960, 1962, 1963 and 1964), ranking in the top 10 for ten years (1951–1952 and 1959–1966). She became the top-ranking female box-office star of all time and is currently ranked sixth among the top 10 box office performers (male and female), as of 2012.[2] Day received an Academy Award nomination for her performance in Pillow Talk, won three Henrietta Awards (World Film Favorite), received the Los Angeles Film Critics Association's Career Achievement Award and in 1989, she received the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement in motion pictures. She made her last film in 1968.

She received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and a Legend Award from the Society of Singers. In 2011, she released her 29th studio album, My Heart, which debuted at No. 9 on the UK Top 40 charts. As of January 2014, Day is the oldest living artist to score a UK Top 10 with an album featuring new material.

Her strong commitment to animal welfare began in 1971, when she co-founded "Actors and Others for Animals". She started her own non-profit organization in the late 1970s, the Doris Day Animal Foundation and, later, the George W. Bush in recognition of her distinguished service to the country. Day is retired from acting and performing, but has continued her work in animal rights causes and animal welfare.


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
    • Early career (1938–1947) 2.1
    • Early film career (1948–1954) 2.2
    • Motion picture breakthrough (1955–1958) 2.3
    • Box office success (1959–1968) 2.4
    • Bankruptcy and television career 2.5
    • 1970s 2.6
    • 1980s and 1990s 2.7
    • 2000s 2.8
    • 2010s 2.9
  • Personal life 3
    • Marriages 3.1
  • Animal welfare activism 4
  • Discography 5
    • Studio albums 5.1
  • Filmography 6
  • Notes 7
  • References 8
  • Bibliography 9
  • External links 10

Early life

Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff[3] was born on April 3, 1922 in Cincinnati, Ohio, the daughter of Alma Sophia (née Welz), a housewife, and William Joseph Kappelhoff, a music teacher and choir master.[4] She has given her year of birth as 1924. All of her grandparents were German immigrants.[5]

The youngest of three siblings, she had two older brothers: Richard (who died before her birth) and Paul, several years older.[6] Due to her father's alleged infidelity,[7] her parents separated. She developed an early interest in dance, and in the mid-1930s formed a dance duo with Jerry Doherty that performed locally in Cincinnati.[8] A car accident on October 13, 1937, injured her legs and curtailed her prospects as a professional dancer.[9][10]


Early career (1938–1947)

At the Aquarium Jazz Club, New York (1946)

While recovering, Day started to sing along with the radio and discovered a talent that she didn't know she had. Day said: "During this long, boring period, I used to while away a lot of time listening to the radio, sometimes singing along with the likes of Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller [...]. But the one radio voice I listened to above others belonged to Ella Fitzgerald. There was a quality to her voice that fascinated me, and I'd sing along with her, trying to catch the subtle ways she shaded her voice, the casual yet clean way she sang the words."[11]

Observing her daughter rekindled Alma's interest in show business, and she decided to give Doris singing lessons. She engaged a teacher, Grace Raine.[12] After three lessons, Raine told Alma that young Doris had "tremendous potential", which led Alma to give her daughter three lessons a week for the price of one. Years later, Day said that Raine had the biggest effect on her singing style and career.[11]

During the eight months she was taking singing lessons, Day had her first professional jobs as a vocalist, on the WLW radio program Carlin's Carnival, and in a local restaurant, Charlie Yee's Shanghai Inn. [13] It was during her radio performances that Day first caught the attention of Barney Rapp, who was looking for a girl vocalist and asked if Day would like to audition for the job. According to Rapp, he had auditioned about 200 singers when Day got the job.[14]

While working for Rapp in 1939, she adopted the stage surname "Day", at Rapp's suggestion.[15] Rapp felt that "Kappelhoff" was too long for marquees, and he admired her rendition of the song "Day After Day".[16] After working with Rapp, Day worked with bandleaders Jimmy James,[17] Bob Crosby,[18] and Les Brown.[19]

While working with Brown, Day scored her first hit recording, "Sentimental Journey", released in early 1945. It soon became an anthem of the desire of World War II demobilizing troops to return home.[20][21] This song is still associated with Day, and she re-recorded it on several occasions, including a version in her 1971 television special.[22] At one point in 1945–46, Day (as vocalist with the Les Brown Band) had six other Top Ten hits on the Billboard chart: "My Dreams Are Getting Better All the Time", "'Tain't Me", "Till The End of Time", "You Won't Be Satisfied (Until You Break My Heart)", "The Whole World is Singing My Song", and "I Got the Sun in the Mornin'". By the time she left Brown's band in August 1946, she was the highest paid female band vocalist in the world.

Early film career (1948–1954)

With Gordon MacRae in Starlift (1951)
Doris Day and Howard Keel, Calamity Jane (1953)

While singing with the Les Brown band and for nearly two years on Bob Hope's weekly radio program,[10] she toured extensively across the United States. Her popularity as a radio performer and vocalist, which included a second hit record "[27] It has been subsequently recorded by Ella Fitzgerald in 1949[28] and Peggy Lee.[29]

In 1950, U.S. servicemen in Korea voted her their favorite star. She continued to make minor and frequently nostalgic period musicals such as Starlift, The West Point Story, On Moonlight Bay, By the Light of the Silvery Moon, and Tea For Two for Warner Brothers. Her most commercially successful film for Warners was "I'll See You in My Dreams," which broke box-office records of 20 years' standing during its premiere engagement at Radio City Music Hall in 1951. In 1953, Day appeared as the title character in the comedic western-themed musical, Calamity Jane, winning the Academy Award for Best Original Song for "Secret Love" (her recording of which became her fourth #1 hit single in the U.S.).[30] Between 1950 and 1953, the albums from six of her movie musicals charted in the Top 10, three of them at #1. After filming Lucky Me with Phil Silvers and Young at Heart (both 1954) with Frank Sinatra, Day chose not to renew her contract with Warner Brothers.[31] She elected to work under the advice and management of her third husband, Marty Melcher, whom she married in Burbank on April 3, 1951.[8][10]

Motion picture breakthrough (1955–1958)

Day in the trailer for Love Me or Leave Me (1955)

Day appeared as a mystery guest on What's My Line? on January 23, 1955. Day subsequently took on more dramatic roles, including her 1955 portrayal of singer Ruth Etting in the biographical film of Etting's life, Love Me or Leave Me, in which she co-starred with James Cagney.[32]

Day would later call it, in her autobiography, her best film. The film garnered critical and commercial success, becoming Day's biggest hit so far. Producer Joe Pasternak said, "I was stunned that Doris didn't get an Oscar nomination." The sound track album from that movie was a #1 hit that stayed charted for 28 weeks and became the recording industry's third biggest selling album of the entire decade. Day starred in Alfred Hitchcock's suspense film, The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) with James Stewart. She sang only two songs in the film, "Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)", which won an Academy Award for Best Original Song,[33] and "We'll Love Again". During the filming, Day became concerned about Hitchcock's lack of direction.[34] She recalled being worried if she was pleasing him and confronted him on her performance.[35] He told her, "If you weren't doing what I liked, you'd know." At the premiere, Hitchcock was asked how he got such a great performance from Day. He replied, "It wasn't me; it was Doris." The film was Day's 10th movie to be in the Top 10 at the box office. Day played the title role in the thriller/noir Julie (1956) with Louis Jourdan. The film received poor press acclaim and was unpopular with audiences.

After three successive dramatic films, Day returned to her musical/comedic roots in 1957's The Pajama Game with John Raitt. The film was based on the Broadway play of the same name. She worked with Paramount Pictures for the comedy Teacher's Pet (1958), alongside Clark Gable and Gig Young. She co-starred with Richard Widmark and Gig Young in the romantic comedy film, The Tunnel of Love (1958), but found scant success opposite Jack Lemmon in It Happened to Jane (1959). Billboard's annual nationwide poll of disc jockeys had ranked Day as the #1 female vocalist nine times in ten years (1949 through 1958), but her success and popularity as a singer was now being overshadowed by her box office appeal.

Box office success (1959–1968)

Day in publicity portrait for Midnight Lace (1960)

In 1959, Day entered her most successful phase as a film actress with a series of romantic comedies.[36][37] This success began with Pillow Talk (1959), co-starring Rock Hudson, who became a lifelong friend, and Tony Randall. Day received a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Actress.[38] Day, Hudson, and Randall made two more films together, Lover Come Back (1961) and Send Me No Flowers (1964).[39] In 1962, Day appeared with Cary Grant in That Touch of Mink, the first film in history ever to gross $1 million in one theatre (Radio City Music Hall). Day was in the Top 10 at the box office 10 times. During 1960 and the 1962 to 1964 period, she ranked No. 1 at the box office, the only woman to be #1 four times. She set an unprecedented record that has yet to be equaled, receiving seven consecutive Laurel Awards as the top female box office star.[40]

Day teamed up with James Garner, starting with The Thrill of It All, followed by Move Over, Darling (both 1963). Move Over, Darling was originally titled Something's Got to Give, a 1962 comeback vehicle for Marilyn Monroe. Filming was suspended following Monroe's dismissal and her subsequent death.[41] A year later, filming resumed with Day recast as the leading lady.[42] The film's theme song, "Move Over, Darling", was co-written by her son specifically for her and charted at #8 in the U.K.[43] In between these comedic roles, Day co-starred with Rex Harrison in the movie thriller Midnight Lace, an updating of the classic stage thriller, Gaslight.[44]

By the late 1960s, the sexual revolution of the baby boomer generation had refocused public attitudes about sex. Times changed, but Day's films did not. Day's 1965 film, Do Not Disturb, was a box office failure and was unpopular with critics as well. Critics and comics dubbed Day "The World's Oldest Virgin",[45][46] and audiences began to shy away from her films. As a result, she slipped from the list of top box office stars, last appearing in the top ten in 1966 with the hit film The Glass Bottom Boat. One of the roles she turned down was that of "Mrs. Robinson" in The Graduate, a role that eventually went to Anne Bancroft.[47] In her published memoirs, Day said she had rejected the part on moral grounds: she found the script "vulgar and offensive".[48]

She starred in the western film The Ballad of Josie (1967). That same year, Day recorded The Love Album, although it was not released until 1994.[49] The following year (1968), she starred in the comedy film Where Were You When the Lights Went Out? which centers on the Northeast blackout of November 9, 1965. Her final feature, the comedy With Six You Get Eggroll, was released in 1968.[50] From 1959 through 1970, Day received nine Laurel Award nominations (and won four times) for best female performance in eight comedies and one drama. From 1959 through 1969, she received six Golden Globe nominations for best female performance in three comedies, one drama (Midnight Lace), one musical (Jumbo), and her television series.

Bankruptcy and television career

When her third husband

External links

  • Barothy, Mary Anne. Day at a Time: An Indiana Girl's Sentimental Journey to Doris Day's Hollywood and Beyond. Hawthorne Publishing (2007)
  • Bret, David. Doris Day: Reluctant Star. JR Books, London, UK (2008)
  • Brogan, Paul E. Was That A Name I Dropped?, Aberdeen Bay (April 29, 2011); ISBN 1608300501, ISBN 978-1608300501
  • .
  • Patrick, Pierre; McGee, Garry. The Doris Day Companion: A Beautiful Day (One on One with Doris and Friends). BearManor Media (2009)


  1. ^ a b NOTE: There is a highly contentious public disagreement over which year of birth is correct, 1922 or 1924. Day gave the latter year during her career and elsewhere; but census records and her biographer (David Kaufman) cite the earlier year.
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ . (registration required; initial 14 day free pass)
  5. ^
  6. ^ Hotchner 1975, p. 18.
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b
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  10. ^ a b c
  11. ^ a b Hotchner 1975, pp. 38–39.
  12. ^ Hotchner 1975, p. 38.
  13. ^ Hotchner 1975, pp. 40–41.
  14. ^ Hotchner 1975, p. 44.
  15. ^
  16. ^ Kaufman 2008, p. 22.
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ Braun 2004, p. 26: "It is not surprising... that she took so readily to Christian Science in her later life"
  23. ^
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  25. ^ Hotchner 1975, p. 91.
  26. ^
  27. ^
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  47. ^
  48. ^
  49. ^ a b c d
  50. ^ a b
  51. ^
  52. ^ a b
  53. ^ McGee 2005, pp. 227–228.
  54. ^
  55. ^ a b
  56. ^
  57. ^
  58. ^
  59. ^
  60. ^ Hotchner 1975, p. 226.
  61. ^
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  66. ^
  67. ^
  68. ^
  69. ^
  70. ^
  71. ^
  72. ^
  73. ^
  74. ^
  75. ^ Kaufman 2008, p. 437.
  76. ^
  77. ^
  78. ^ Profile,; accessed May 11, 2015.
  79. ^
  80. ^ a b
  81. ^ Patrick & McGee 2006, p. 132, photograph of ad.
  82. ^
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  1. ^ Jerome Bernard Rosenthal (born April 1, 1911 – died August 15, 2007) was admitted to the State Bar of California on June 11, 1946 after graduating from the University of Chicago Law School. His clients included Ross Hunter, Van Johnson and Gordon MacRae. Rosenthal was Day's lawyer, business manager, and tax adviser under a May 1956 agreement (in which he was to receive 10% of virtually everything owned or earned by Day and Melcher).



Studio albums


A facility to help abused and neglected horses opened in 2011 and bears her name—the Doris Day Horse Rescue and Adoption Center, located in Murchison, Texas, on the grounds of an animal sanctuary started by her late friend, author Cleveland Amory.[87] Day contributed $250,000 toward the founding of the center.[88]

[86] To complement the Doris Day Animal Foundation, Day formed the

In 1978, Day founded her own Doris Day Pet Foundation, now the Doris Day Animal Foundation (DDAF).[82] A non-profit 501(c)(3) grant-giving public charity, DDAF funds other non-profit causes throughout the US that share DDAF's mission of helping animals and the people who love them. The DDAF continues to operate independently under Day's personal supervision.[83]

Day's interest in animal welfare and related issues apparently dates to her teen years. While recovering from an automobile accident, she took her dog Tiny for a walk without a leash. Tiny ran into the street and was killed by a passing car. Day later confessed guilt and loneliness about Tiny's untimely death. In 1971, she co-founded Actors and Others for Animals, and appeared in a series of newspaper advertisements denouncing the wearing of fur, alongside Mary Tyler Moore, Angie Dickinson, and Jayne Meadows.[81] Day's friend, Cleveland Amory, wrote about these events in Man Kind? Our Incredible War on Wildlife (1974).

Animal welfare activism

  • To Al Jorden, a trombonist whom she first met in Barney Rapp's Band, from March 1941 to 1943. Her only child, son Terrence Paul Jorden (later known as Terry Melcher), resulted from this marriage. Husband Jorden, who was reportedly physically abusive to Day, committed suicide in 1967 by gunshot.
  • To Virginia Weidler, and Day met again several years later. During a brief reconciliation, he helped introduce her to Christian Science.
  • To Martin Melcher, whom she married on April 3, 1951. This marriage lasted until Melcher's death in 1968. Melcher adopted Day's son Terry, who, with the name Terry Melcher, became a successful musician and record producer.[79] Martin Melcher produced many of Day's movies. She and Melcher were both practicing Christian Scientists, resulting in her not seeing a doctor for some time after symptoms that suggested cancer. This distressing period ended when, finally consulting a physician, and thereby finding the lump was benign, she fully recovered. After publishing her autobiography, Day married one last time.
  • Her fourth and latest marriage was to Barry Comden (March 30, 1935 – May 25, 2009),[80] who was roughly a decade younger, from April 14, 1976, until 1981. Comden was the maître d'hôtel at one of Day's favorite restaurants. Knowing of her great love of dogs, Comden endeared himself to Day by giving her a bag of meat scraps and bones on her way out of the restaurant. When this marriage unraveled, Comden complained that Day cared more for her "animal friends" than she did for him.[80]

In 1975, Day published her autobiography, Doris Day: Her Own Story, an "as-told-to" work with A. E. Hotchner. The book detailed her first three marriages:


Day became an ordained minister with the Universal Life Church in order to officiate at weddings.[77][78]

Day is a Republican.[75] Her only child, music producer and songwriter Terry Melcher, who had a hit in the 1960s with "Hey Little Cobra" under the name The Rip Chords, died of melanoma in 2004, about five months after Day had received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She owns a hotel in Carmel-by-the-Sea, the Cypress Inn, which Melcher had co-owned with Day.[76]

Since her retirement from films, Day has lived in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. She has many pets and adopts stray animals.[74]

Personal life

In January 2012, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association presented Day with a Lifetime Achievement Award.[73]

Day, aged 89, released My Heart in the United Kingdom on September 5, 2011, her first new album in nearly two decades, since the release of The Love Album, which, although recorded in 1967, was not released until 1994. The album is a compilation of previously unreleased recordings produced by Day's son, Terry Melcher, before his death in 2004. Tracks include the 1970s Joe Cocker hit "You Are So Beautiful", The Beach Boys' "Disney Girls" and jazz standards such as "My Buddy", which Day originally sang in her 1951 film I'll See You in My Dreams. Day dedicates this song to her son. The disc was released in the US via City Hall Records on December 6, and within two weeks had climbed to No. 12 on Amazon's bestseller list in spite of being priced over 25% higher than most CDs to raise funds for the Doris Day Animal League. It debuted at 135 on the Billboard 200, Day's first entry on that chart since Love Him (1963).[71] She became the oldest artist to score a UK Top 10 with an album featuring new material, according to the Official Charts Company, entering at No. 9. (British singer Vera Lynn reached the top of the chart in August 2009 at age 92, but with a greatest hits album, We'll Meet Again – The Very Best of Vera Lynn.[72])


Both columnist Liz Smith and film critic Rex Reed have mounted vigorous campaigns to gather support for an honorary Academy Award for Day to herald her film career and her status as the top female box-office star of all time.[68] Day received a Grammy for Lifetime Achievement in Music in 2008, albeit again in absentia.[69] She received three Grammy Hall of Fame Awards, in 1998, 1999 and 2012 for her recordings of "Sentimental Journey", "Secret Love", and "Que Sera, Sera", respectively. Day was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame in 2007,[70] and in 2010 received the first Legend Award ever presented by the Society of Singers.[49]

[67].fear of flying Day declined to attend the ceremony due to her [66] President Bush stated, "It was a good day for our fellow creatures when she gave her good heart to the cause of animal welfare."[65] Day turned down a tribute offer from the

In 2000, Day received the Ohio Medal of Honor, that state's highest civilian award. In 2006, Day recorded a commentary for the DVD release of the fifth (and final) season of her television show. Day has participated in telephone interviews with a radio station that celebrates her birthday with an annual Doris Day music marathon. In July 2008, she appeared on the Los Angeles Times.


Day was inducted into the Ohio Women's Hall of Fame in 1981 and received the Cecil B. DeMille Award for career achievement in 1989. In 1994, Day's Greatest Hits album became another entry into the British charts.[49] The song "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps" was included in the soundtrack of the Australian film Strictly Ballroom,[63] the theme song for the British TV show Coupling, with Mari Wilson performing the song for the title sequence[64] and in the promo for the fourth season of the FX series Louie.

Day was scheduled to present, along with Patrick Swayze and Marvin Hamlisch, the Best Original Score Oscar at the 61st Annual Academy Awards (March 1989) but she suffered a deep leg cut and was unable to attend.[61] She had been walking through the gardens of her hotel when she cut her leg on a sprinkler. The cut required stitches.[62]

Terry Melcher stated that Melcher's premature death saved Day from financial ruin. It remains unresolved whether Marty Melcher had himself also been duped.[57] Day stated publicly that she believed her husband innocent of any deliberate wrongdoing, stating that he "simply trusted the wrong person".[58] According to Day's autobiography, as told to A. E. Hotchner, the usually athletic and healthy Martin Melcher had an enlarged heart. Most of the interviews on the subject given to Hotchner (and included in Day's autobiography) paint an unflattering portrait of Melcher. Author David Kaufman asserts that one of Day's costars, actor Louis Jourdan, maintained that Day herself disliked her husband,[59] but Day's public statements regarding Melcher appear to contradict that assertion.[60]

In October 1985, the California Supreme Court rejected Rosenthal's appeal of the multimillion-dollar judgment against him for legal malpractice, and upheld conclusions of a trial court and a Court of Appeal that Rosenthal acted improperly. In April 1986, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review the lower court's judgment. In June 1987, Rosenthal filed a $30 million lawsuit against lawyers he claimed cheated him out of millions of dollars in real estate investments. He named Day as a co-defendant, describing her as an "unwilling, involuntary plaintiff whose consent cannot be obtained". Rosenthal claimed that millions of dollars Day lost were in real estate sold after Melcher died in 1968, in which Rosenthal asserted that the attorneys gave Day bad advice, telling her to sell, at a loss, three hotels, in Kentucky and Ohio. Rosenthal claimed he had made the investments under a long-term plan, and did not intend to sell them until they appreciated in value. Two of the hotels sold in 1970 for about $7 million, and their estimated worth in 1986 was $50 million. In July 1984, after a hearing panel of the State Bar Court, after 80 days of testimony and consideration of documentary evidence, the panel accused Rosenthal of 13 separate acts of misconduct and urged his disbarment in a 34-page unsigned opinion.[55] The State Bar Court's review department upheld the panel's findings, which asked the justices to order Rosenthal's disbarment. He continued representing clients in federal courts until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against him on March 21, 1988. Disbarment by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals followed on August 19, 1988. The Supreme Court of California, in affirming the disbarment, held that Rosenthal had engaged in transactions involving undisclosed conflicts of interest, took positions adverse to his former clients, overstated expenses, double-billed for legal fees, failed to return client files, failed to provide access to records, failed to give adequate legal advice, failed to provide clients with an opportunity to obtain independent counsel, filed fraudulent claims, gave false testimony, engaged in conduct designed to harass his clients, delayed court proceedings, obstructed justice and abused legal process. Rosenthal died August 15, 2007, at the age of 96.[56]

1980s and 1990s

Rosenthal filed an appeal in the 2nd District Court of Appeal. He filed six additional lawsuits related to the case. Two were libel suits, one against Day and her publishers over comments she made about Rosenthal in her book in which he sought damages. The others sought court determinations that insurance companies and individual lawyers failed to defend Rosenthal properly before Olson and in appellate stages. In April 1979, he filed an unsuccessful suit to set aside the $6 million settlement with Day and recover damages from everyone involved in agreeing, supposedly without his permission, to the payment.

On September 18, 1974, courts awarded Day $22,835,646 for fraud and malpractice in an hour-long oral decision by Superior Judge Lester E. Olson, ending a 99-day trial that involved 18 consolidated lawsuits and countersuits filed by Day and Rosenthal that involved Rosenthal's handling of her finances after she terminated him in July 1968.[52] The civil trial included 14,451 pages of transcript from 67 witnesses. Represented by attorney Robert Winslow and the law firm of Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp LLP, Day was awarded $1 million punitive damages, $5.6 million plus $2 million interest for losses incurred in a sham oil venture; $3.4 million plus $1.2 million interest over a hotel venture; $2.2 million plus $793,800 interest for duplicate or unnecessary fees paid to Rosenthal; more than $2 million to recoup loans to Rosenthal; $3.9 million plus $1 million interest for fraud, and $850,000 attorney fees for Day. Olson enjoined Rosenthal from filing any further lawsuits against Day or her business operations. (Rosenthal had filed more than 20 suits from 1969 to 1974). Olson, an expert in complex financial marital settlements, read every page of 3,275 individual exhibits and 68 boxes of miscellaneous financial records. In October 1979, Rosenthal's liability insurer settled with Day for about $6 million payable in 23 annual installments.[55]


In the 1985–86 season, Day hosted her own television talk show, Doris Day's Best Friends, on CBN.[54] The network canceled the show after 26 episodes, despite the worldwide publicity it received.

Day hated the idea of doing television, but felt obliged to it.[50] "There was a contract. I didn't know about it. I never wanted to do TV, but I gave it 100 percent anyway. That's the only way I know how to do it." The first episode of The Doris Day Show aired on September 24, 1968, and, from 1968 to 1973, employed "Que Sera, Sera" as its theme song. Day grudgingly persevered (she needed the work to help pay off her debts), but only after CBS ceded creative control to her and her son. The successful show enjoyed a five-year run (its second season finished in the Top 10 of the Nielsen ratings), and functioned as a curtain-raiser for The Carol Burnett Show. It is remembered today for its abrupt season-to-season changes in casting and premise. It was not widely syndicated as many of its contemporaries were, and was re-broadcast very little outside the United States, Australia and the UK.[53] By the end of its run in 1973, public tastes had changed and her firmly established persona was regarded as passé. She largely retired from acting after The Doris Day Show, but did complete two television specials, The Doris Mary Anne Kappelhoff Special (1971) and Doris Day to Day (1975). She appeared in a John Denver TV special in 1974.[49]

"It was awful", Day told OK! Magazine in 1996. "I was really, really not very well when Marty [Melcher] passed away, and the thought of going into TV was overpowering. But he'd signed me up for a series. And then my son Terry [Melcher] took me walking in Beverly Hills and explained that it wasn't nearly the end of it. I had also been signed up for a bunch of TV specials, all without anyone ever asking me."
. The Doris Day ShowDay also learned that Melcher had committed her to a television series, which became


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