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Doris DayHappy Birthday, Doris Day! Yesterday was her 88th birthday, so this week is the perfect time to pay homage to one of my all-time favorite actresses.

I’ve loved Doris Day ever since I was a kid. There’s just something about her sunny disposition, her fabulous on-screen wardrobe, her lovely voice, and her fun movies that cheers me up, no matter what troubles I might be going through. She has a [amazon_link id=”B00656C6KK” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]new album, My Heart[/amazon_link], that was just released, and we can’t forget her wonderful animal rights work, the Doris Day Animal League.

But I also know that her off-screen life was far from perfect. On screen, she may have been wooed by the likes of James Garner, Cary Grant and Rock Hudson, but in real life, she was dealing with dysfunctional relationships, health issues, and financial struggles. But you’d never know it by the smiling girl-next-door we saw at the movies and on [amazon_link id=”B001D5C1EY” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Doris Day Show[/amazon_link], which ran from 1968 to 1973. I was super-excited when the TV show was released on DVD a few years back and promptly acquired the entire series.

Pillow Talk
Doris Day and Rock Hudson in Pillow Talk

It’s very, very tough to pick a few favorite movies, because they all hold a special place in my heart. So I’ve decided to choose three, each starring one of the three leading men mentioned above.

1. [amazon_link id=”B0076I6242″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Pillow Talk[/amazon_link] (1959). My favorite Doris Day movie finds her and co-star Rock Hudson sharing a telephone line in New York City (yes, I remember the days when we shared a phone line with our neighbors here in Traverse City, Michigan). The two despise each other, but of course, sparks fly and things turn out well in the end. Things always turned out well in Doris Day movies. That’s part of their appeal.

That Touch of Mink: Cary Grant and Doris Day
Cary Grant and Doris Day in That Touch of Mink

2. [amazon_link id=”B000056BOR” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]That Touch of Mink[/amazon_link] (1963). Who could resist a rich businessman played by Cary Grant? Not I! But this movie has a moral — should a girl sleep with a man before marriage? Oh the emotional pressure! It gave Doris hives during their island getaway. One of my favorite scenes from this movie is the automat, the original fast-food restaurant where foods are served via coin-operated vending machines — but there were real people on the other side putting sandwiches and slices of pie into those little spaces. It’s just so cool.

The Thrill of It All3. [amazon_link id=”B00007GZR1″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Thrill of It All[/amazon_link]. In this movie, Doris plays a housewife whose sudden rise to fame as a soap spokesperson leads to chaos at home with husband James Garner. This is also one of my now-teenage son’s favorite Doris Day movies from when he was a kid, because a car ends up in a swimming pool filled with bubbles. It also showed that Doris could easily morph from snappy-dressing career woman to mom and housewife in a heartbeat.

If I expanded the list to include more Doris Day movies, my next favorites would be The Glass Bottom Boat, Please Don’t Eat the Daisies, and With Six You Get Eggroll. Hop over to A Traveler’s Library and read my post on Alfred Hitchcock movies, where I talk about another Doris Day favorite, The Man Who Knew Too Much.

Got a favorite Doris Day movie? Tell us in the comments below!  

19 COMMENTS

  1. Yes – Doris Day! Heard her voice on the radio the other day, and I thought to myself, “whoever that is has such a lovely voice.” I’d forgotten how talented she is. And her movies – fun stuff.

  2. I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t seen any of those. I love to watch old-timey movies with my kids so I’ll have to check them out. thanks for the recommend.

  3. How do you limit it to three? Lover Come Back is maybe a companion to Pillow Talk. But The Man Who Knew Too Much is certainly number two.

    (Don’t forget John Astin’s great turn as a smarmy would-be seducer in That Touch of Mink, leering “Muscatel — for my lady’s pleasure.” Hah!

  4. There’s something about her that is so lovable. This whole post reminded me of a time when actresses could care more about their craft than about how skinny they could force their bodies to become. Great post.

  5. I could only name my LEAST favorites; otherwise, I like them all.  That said, my name is Michael DeVita and  I am the author of a brand new book about Doris Day that chronicles her life, especially her music, from the beginning to the very end. “My ‘Secret Love’ Affair With Doris Day”, now available at http://www.amazon.com.  Check the reviews and get your copy now!  See how Doris, her music and her career affected the author all of his life. More Information: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58K_TAr8nxg

  6. Oh, my goodness, I love everything Doris ever did…even in the few “bad” movies, she is always worth watching!  I’ll go with “Pillow Talk” as number one, “The Thrill of it All” as number 2, and “Teacher’s Pet” as number 3…although whenever I’m watching one of her movies, it’s my favorite at that moment!  I finally got to see her very first movie this year “Romance On the High Seas”, and I just absolutely love that silly, funny little film…she is absolutely adorable in her film debut – so cute and so funny.  No wonder she became an instant favorite of movie goers!  Of course, as a singer, she just can’t be beat – my favorite female vocalist of all time. Her hundreds of recordings are an absolute treasure for any music lover!

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