Robert Osborne on Doris Day
The delightful Doris hasn't made a movie since the year Daniel Craig, Hugh Jackman and Will Smith were born, 1968. (The last entry in her filmography is the now 44-year-old With Six You Get Eggroll.) Except for a TV cable series about animals Doris briefly did on her home turf in Carmel, California, in the mid-1980s, and a surprise appearance years ago in Beverly Hills to receive a special award at the Golden Globes, she has virtually been unseen, unphotographed and unavailable since 1973 when her own CBS TV series The Doris Day Show went off the air after a five-year run. Since then she's kept herself off limits as adamantly as Greta Garbo was once legendary for doing, behavior which seemed logical for the notoriously reclusive Garbo but does confuse Day devotees since it's so opposite of the sunny and friendly persona which was always a part of her enormous appeal. But the DD decision to live her life privately and away from today's paparazzi mentality hasn't flagged interest in her a whit.
Here at TCM we get blanketed with requests to show her films, and to please, please, please get her to sit for a Private Screenings interview; we'd love it (but, so far, Doris would not). Her fans also keep suggesting she be voted a special Oscar®, a Kennedy Center honor, the AFI tribute; we give a thumbs up to those suggestions, too, but I suspect she's not keen about those ideas, either, especially if it means those awards are offered only if she shows up in person to collect them. Who can blame her for that?
Doris Day started performing at a young age, had a tough road to success and once she achieved it delivered the goods 100 percent and brilliantly, always making difficult work look as easy as breathing. There comes a time when even icons, if they choose to do so, should be allowed to enjoy life out of the spotlight. And it's nice to know she's now living the life she wishes and not attempting to pursue a career in today's splintered movie industry.
Well, there may not be any new Doris Day movies on the horizon, but I'm pleased to say that this month on TCM we can all wallow in a treasure chest of her past successes. Every night in prime time from Monday April 2 through Friday April 6, we'll be bringing you 28 of her films, including her first one (1948's Romance on the High Seas) and the charming musicals she made early on at Warner Bros. with Gordon MacRae, her early forays into drama (1950's Young Man with a Horn and 1951's Storm Warning), the later comedies with Rock Hudson, Cary Grant and James Garner, the heavy dramas which showed her impressive acting chops (Midnight Lace, Julie) and the film which gets my vote as the best one she ever made, 1955's Love Me or Leave Me with Jimmy Cagney.
This month we're letting the projectionist do the work while the rest of us, including Doris if she so chooses, just sit back, relax comfortably and enjoy the Day.
by Robert Osborne