Author Tom Santopietro, who wrote a biography on Doris, said she was the most underrated movie star of her time.

“Doris was one of a kind. She wasn’t the voluptuous beauty that Elizabeth Taylor was, nor did she possess the sylph-like elegance of Audrey Hepburn. She was, however, the biggest all-around talent of them all.

“She really was the idealized girl next door – idealized because no girl next door is that great a singer and such a terrific actress, not to mention being sexy in an understated way,” Santopietro said in an interview with “Doris was equally appealing to men and women. Men found her sexy but also wanted to marry her, and women wanted to be like her.”

She was best known for her romantic comedies, mostly with co-star Rock Hudson, who nicknamed her "Eunice." “Pillow Talk” (1959) earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. Doris and Hudson made two more films together, “Lover Come Back” (1961) and “Send Me No Flowers” (1964).
Classic TV Beauties
Classic TV Beauties 1960s Countdown
    DORIS DAY as Doris Martin in "The Doris Day Show"
Doris never had any desire to work in television so she was shocked to learn that her late husband Martin Melcher had committed her to a TV series before he died of heart disease in April 1968. But with her "the show must go on" attitude, the perky blonde happily went to work and became a TV star for five seasons.

“It was awful,” Doris said in a 1996 interview with OK magazine of learning about her late husband's deal that signed her to a sitcom.

“I discovered I had been contracted to do a TV series I knew nothing about and hadn’t agreed to. I was really, really not very well when Marty passed away and the thought of going into TV was overpowering.
“With me, a deal is a deal. There was a contract… I gave 100 percent anyway. That’s the only way I know how to do it.”

“The Doris Day Show” premiered on CBS in September 1968, with Doris, age 44, playing a big-city widow raising two young sons on a ranch outside of San Francisco. The series underwent numerous changes during its five-season run (1968-73). As the American culture changed, so did Doris’ character. Doris Martin moved back to the city and became a swinging single career girl, and a Ms. instead of Mrs.

The show garnered decent ratings – a Top 10 spot the second season – but Doris opted out after the fifth season.

At that point in her career, Doris had already established herself as one of America's favorite movie stars and the biggest female box office star in Hollywood history, and she didn’t need to prove herself on the small screen.
.No. 34
Doris co-starred with the biggest Hollywood stars of her day, including Frank Sinatra, James Cagney, James Stewart, Clark Gable, and even Ronald Regan.

Two of her personal favorite movies were “Silvery Moon” and “Moonlight Bay.” Of those films, she said, “If life could be like it was in those movies, it would be beautiful, wouldn’t it?”

“Doris was the only movie star of her time who consistently played independent career women with great jobs, never desperate for a husband,” Santopietro said. “Yet people have distorted that fact and as a result have underrated her.”

“I particularly loved the comedies, the comedies were very moral,” Doris said of her work. “And I enjoy the films better than some of the movies they’re making today.”
Most casual fans associate with Doris with a song -- “Que Sera Sera” – that never resonated with her.

“The first time somebody told me it was going to be in that movie, I thought 'Why?” she said in an interview with NPR. “I didn’t think it was a good song. It was perfect for the film [“The Man Who Knew too Much”, 1956]. So I can’t say that it’s a favorite song of mine, but boy, it sure did something.”

Appearing in 39 movies, Doris was the biggest box office star for four years and ranked in the Top 10 for ten years (1951-52, 1959-66).

After “The Doris Day Show” concluded, Doris wet into semi-retirement. She founded several animal rights groups and adopted many stray animals for her home in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.
Santopietro added that Doris had “enormous range, but made it all look so easy that people took the talent for granted. She could play everything from comedy to the heaviest of dramas.”

Doris’ squeaky clean reputation labeled her as a “professional virgin.” Comedian Oscar Levant said of her, “I knew Doris Day before she was a virgin.” And she was once called “the only virgin who’s been married four times.”

But Doris’ personna as a goody-goody two shoes wasn't popular with the younger generation. As the sexual revolution changed America’s view on sex, Doris’ characters didn't reflect that transformation and she continued to make the same type of movies, which were box office failures.

Rejecting outstanding roles because the characters had less than perfect morals -- Exhibit A: the sexy older woman “Mrs. Robinson” in “The Graduate” -- didn't help her career

Born Doris Kapelhoff in Cincinnati, Doris was a teen-ager dancer when she was spotted by a Paramount Pictures talent scout who wanted to take her to Hollywood. Unfortunately, she was involved in a car accident on the night of her going-away party and her leg, as well as her dreams of being a professional dancer, were shattered.

She soon learned she had a talent for singing and she took singing lessons. Although her family could only afford to pay for one lesson a week, Doris’ teacher recognized her talented voice and gave her three lessons a week for the price of one. After eight months of singing lessons, Doris earned a gig as a vocalist on WLW radio.

At age 16 Doris was hired for a club in Cincinnati. The bandleader told the club owner that Doris was 18. “I kept forgetting that I wasn’t two years older,” she joked years later.
As a singer, Doris has made more than 650 recordings, making her one of the most popular singers in history.  She sang for many of her movies, recording numerous hits such as "By the Light of the Silvery Moon," "I'm Not in Love at All," and "Love Me or Leave Me."

Amazingly, she returned to the studio in 2011 and recorded a pop album called "My Heart." At age 89 1/2 she became the oldest artist to score a UK Top 10 album.

Perhaps Doris’ success and longevity can be traced to her sunny disposition and genuine authenticity.

“There were times when I wasn’t always up. Everything could be calm and peaceful, then the next day the bottom dropped out,” she said. “What can you do? Moan and groan and feel sorry for yourself? No, you pull yourself up by your bootstraps and you get on with life.”

Terry Melcher, Doris' son (now deceased) and a past business manager, summed up his mom's integrity in a 1996 interview:

“She has the highest integrity of anyone I know. Recently she turned down $1 million to do one diet food commercial. It would have been four hours work and they were going to come here to do it, but she said, ‘I’ve never had a weight problem and I don’t use the product. It wouldn’t be honest.”
Goldie Hawn "Rowan & Martin's Laugh In"
Doris Day "The Doris Day Show" Doris Martin
Doris Day "The Doris Day Show" Doris Martin
Doris Day "The Doris Day Show" Doris Martin
Doris Day "The Doris Day Show" Doris Martin
A few years later Doris toured as the feature singer for Les Brown and his Band of Renown.

“We had great guys in the band,” she said. “They were so nice and took care of me. It was just heaven for me. We laughed all the time and had great fun. We were a family.”

Doris scored her first hit with “Sentimental Journey” in 1945; it became the first song placed in the Grammy Hall of Fame.  At one point in 1945-46, Doris had five Top 10 hits, and her recording of “Secret Love” was her fourth No. 1 song and won an Academy Ward for Best Original Song.
Amanda Blake "Gunsmoke" Kitty Russell
Doris Day "The Doris Day Show" Doris Martin
Tina Louise "Gilligan's Island" Ginger Grant
Meredith MacRae "Petticoat Junction" Billie Jo Bradley
Mary Tyler Moore "The Dick Van Dyke Show" Laura Petrie
Barbara Eden "I Dream of Jeannie" Jeannie
Barbara Feldon "Get Smart" Agent 99
Elinor Donahue "Father Knows Best" Betty Anderson "The Andy Griffith Show" Ellie Walker
Tina Cole "My Three Sons" Katie Miller Douglas