Today we celebrate the 95th birthday of one of my favorite actresses. Doris Day was one of the very first actresses that I remember and I adored her completely as a young girl. She was a favorite of my Nana and she and I would watch lots of Doris Day’s films together when I spent the night. It was our special activity we did together. My Nana introduced me to a lot of the great films of the 30s-60s but the ones with Doris Day were my favorite. I loved her spunk and happiness, the hilarious situations she would get into in her films, and of course, her voice.
As I got older and learned more about Doris Day, I came to admire her for more reasons. She was a woman of determination and courage – who faced disappointment and loss but did not let that define her. I was surprised to learn that film had not been her first choice and that she had wanted to be a professional dancer. But a serious car accident destroyed that dream. As she recovered on bedrest, she listened to music and found a joy in singing. In 1945 she recorded “Sentimental Journey”- her first big hit. (It’s subsequently become one of my favorite songs of hers, though I still have a soft spot for Secret Love and By the Light of the Silvery Moon.) She is also woman of great compassion and purpose and has worked tirelessly against animal cruelty for decades. For these and so many other reasons, I have looked up to her and consider her a heroine on and off the silver screen.
It’s tempting to watch her movies and reminiscence of a simpler time when life was full of tea and cakes and happy songs with no real troubles. But to do so ignores the real impact of her life. As I’ve grown up with her, I’ve come to realize hers is a deeper legacy. It’s one of wrestling with personal pain and loss and of choosing joy in spite of it. It’s of reaching for new dreams, finding passions that change the world, and using your voice to bring happiness and love to others.
Thank you for the sentimental journey of a lifetime Doris Day. Thank you for influencing my life and being a wonderful role model for generations of women. And Happy Birthday!!
Blessings to you,