. . . Here Are My Answers—Doris Day
I’m most grateful for this opportunity to get closer to you through the pages of MODERN SCREEN.
You know, as I sit here on location of Julie with my three | leading men, Louis Jourdan, Barry Sullivan and Frank Lovejoy, I reflect that it was only eight years ago that I was given my first screen test at Warners and signed to a long term contract. During these past years I have been bombarded with thousands and thousands of questions about my life and my career. I have been pointed at, and accused of being snooty and uncooperative with fellow workers and with the press. However, I have been a runner up for the Golden Apple award for being the most cooperative actress, so I guess I could say being in the movies is wonderful. It’s exciting and has its many rewards, but with it come the rumors, the false impressions and accusations.
Did you ever take a ride on the elevator of a skyscraper? Of course, well, you know how it feels when the elevator surges upward . . . phew, your head sinks to your toes—but soon, with a little effort everything returns to normal and you’re on a level keel again. And so it is with most stars, as they rise rapidly their heads swim but with a little effort the leveling off period is not far away. Sure, some stars never level off. I feel I am most fortunate being married to a man like Marty, my husband and manager and loving critic. He has helped me, I think, to stay on that level keel, at least I’ve had my two feet on the ground.
Well as long as I’m in the mood to answer the most important questions, from your letters—let’s go. Over ten thousand letters were turned over to MODERN SCREEN, to get a sample of the questions. As you may know, my mother handles all my fan mail . . . need I say more than to say this is a labor of love? If you’ve come this far, I certainly don’t want to lose you before I answer this first one: How do I get along with Marty? Fans write they hear rumors (there’s that ugly word again) that I’m hypnotized that I’m puppet on a string or that he’s a Svengali. Nothing could be further from the truth. So get your pencil and jot this down. Put it on your tape recorder and play it over and over. When the lights are out at night, I lie in bed and thank God with humble gratitude for His blessings . . . I thank God for my marital happiness with Marty . . . And I pray that my son Terry will find the happiness in his future marriage that I have found in mine. This all comes from my heart and I hope you realize that Marty is not twisting my arm. If this doesn’t kick the pins out from under the wagging tongues, well, then I’ll give up trying. Personally I couldn’t care less what gossips think and say . . . but since I have this opportunity to put it in the record—you’ve got it.
I truly wish that most husbands would be as considerate of their wives as mine is to me. Marty has a wonderful sense of humor. He knows how to make me laugh and does. He can always be expected to do the unexpected. He has no inhibitions and he exercises his prerogative as a husband to take the initiative, but always in good taste—he’s a guy a girl can lean upon.
The meal and I
Well, if you’re still with me, I’ll go on to the next question—What do I like to eat? I guess this could be as a result of stories written saying I like to eat.
When I’m working on a picture, like now on Julie, I’ll have some fruit and soft boiled eggs in the morning and a cup of Sanka or Postum. During production I generally lunch on a small steak and salad. In this picture I play a highly emotional role. I’m a distraught wife constantly on the run from her homicidal jealous husband-(Louis Jourdan). If I ate big breakfasts and heavy lunches it would have an effect upon my work. Of course I forgot to mention that the camera puts five pounds on me, so I have to do a bit of dieting, together with Marie, my dear friend and wardrobe mistress, who has been with me since Warner Brothers.
Usually I lunch in my dressing room. This gives me a chance to slip into a robe and quietly relax. Here again I want to spike rumors that I’m aloof and don’t eat with the gang in the commissary. I love the gang, I love people, but I feel the picture comes first and that I must have a period of relaxation before starting the long afternoon. A little cat-nap does wonders, believe me.
My favorite foods are steak and French fried onions, salads, Italian and Chinese—or maybe I should say Cantonese.
One evening in San Francisco we decided on an Italian dinner and were recommended to Vanessi’s. Well, “Uncle Joe” Vanessi, as he insisted we call him, ordered our dinner for us. It took three hours of eating our way through “Uncle Joe’s” hospitality before we could make our way out to our car. Now that we are on location in Carmel, a short distance from San Francisco, I hope to revisit that wonderful restaurant again. The food was superb and “Uncle Joe” the nicest and most gracious host I’ve ever encountered.
Another week end we went with our son Terry to a dude ranch. We obliged Terry by going on the breakfast ride which included all the guests at the ranch. It was magnificent. We rode for about two hours. The trail led us to a secluded clearing in the wooded hills. Here a crew of cooks were busy wrestling up a block-long griddle full of hot cakes and scrambled eggs and coffee. Golly, did that ever smell good. With a setting like this it was easy to get into an eating mood—yes, I ate like an old hand. It was the atmosphere, the open air, the ride, but most of all the vittles which were real good. At home I wouldn’t think of having a heavy breakfast like that.
So, it all depends where I am. I let conditions rule.
Next question. Do I like to travel with my family or alone? I always travel with Marty and usually take Terry, except if it interferes with his school work. In fact, when we take Terry we almost always take a friend of his to keep him company. This has worked out beautifully, because children like to be with children. And we always think that parents, or I should say grown-ups, can get plenty dull after the first hour.
All of us went to Europe together last year and had a marvelous time. Marty and Terry must have shot more pictures than the production company. I was there working on the Alfred Hitchcock film, The Man Who Knew Too Much.
To me shopping in new places is the greatest. I always make the rounds of all the shops, see what everyone has to offer and then go back to where I saw something I liked. The trouble is, though, most of the time I forget where the shop is, or I don’t have the time to get back.
So, back to week-ending, my favorite kind of traveling. We all set out for Alisal, about 100 miles north of Los Angeles. You should be familiar with this spot—remember, where I ate so many hot cakes. We were thrilled with this trip because of Terry. We discovered a new Terry. The cowboy! He was turned loose on a 20,000 acre ranch with nothing to do but ride horses and sit on the corral fence chatting with the cowboys. You see, Alisal is really a stock ranch with cattle, and he took to this life like a duck to water, becoming a real pal with the ranch hands, and of course they were very fond of him. He pitched in and helped saddle the horses, fed them hay, watered them and lolled around the bunk house with “the boys,” listening to their songs.
When Sunday afternoon rolled around, Terry actually cried on parting with his new-found friends, and wanted to remain and live in the bunk house. He had actually made up his mind to be a cowboy! Of course there’s nothing wrong with being a cowboy—and when Terry finishes college if he decides that he still wants to be one, he’ll have our blessings.
Now, you asked me about traveling. We very often go to Palm Springs, about 100 miles south of Los Angeles. The exact opposite direction from Alisal, but we just love it there. Before starting our Arwin production of Julie,we spent a full week at Marion Davies Desert Inn, relaxing, playing tennis, golf and lying in the sun. Give us a hot day, a bottle of sun-tan oil and we’re in business. Sun-bathing is a bit mild for Terry, though; not enough action, he says. So, he rented a bicycle built for two. This trip we didn’t bring a friend of his and Marty was the first to realize what was happening. “Oh no, no, don’t look at me, ask Mom to ride with you.” It was a tandem and another rider was needed. We both lost. Later we commandeered the monster and I went on a shopping tour with Marty. While I looked for clothes, Marty was looking at property. Once again, I never got around to the second trip but Marty wound up by buying a membership at Tamarisk Country Club and a view lot—right on the golf course. This of course was by mutual consent and now we can’t wait to start building our dream house.
To go on further with our traveling, we often take week-end trips to Las Vegas, which we love for its beautiful hotels, fabulous floor shows and gorgeous weather. Of course we don’t go there to do much resting—on the contrary—we need a vacation when we get home.
One day while in Vegas, Terry and his friend kept insisting they challenge us to go on the “bumper cars” at the amusement center. Marty, a master at giving the brush, put them off until after dinner when the sun went down. That evening we had a delicious steak dinner. Being summer, we topped it off with a large cold slice of watermelon. You’ve had that feeling, after a Thanksgiving dinner. So, up comes Terry with, “Now let’s go on the bumper cars,” and Marty blanched. But in our family a promise is a promise. You know, to this day I don’t know how either of us ever survived that “bumper car” contest.
Yes, I love to travel. It’s fun to get away from the house but always twice as nice to return home.
Two good ones
Whoops! Here’s a good one. Who dresses me? By this I hope you mean who selects my clothes? But if you really mean “Who dresses me”—well, I’m a big girl now and I dress myself. The answer to the latter question is the same. I select my own clothes and I love to shop for myself. Marty has excellent taste in selecting clothes for me and loves nice things and surprises me.
I love tailored clothes, suits and lots of slacks and tops. And lots of full cottons for summer, and I adore evening gowns. It’s such fun getting dressed up for a party.
On our trip to Europe, I selected a wonderful fabric in France. Marty suggested that we buy the material and have the suit made in London. I did, and couldn’t be happier. Their suits are wonderful and the tailoring superb!
Next question asks, What are my pet peeves? I’ve got no pets in this category. I guess I have answered some of these in some of the previous questions, but I can add that I dislike to answer the telephone. I resist to the bitter end. Can’t stand the sudden harshness of the bell, but if it’s for me I’ll curl up on the couch and talk for hours on end.
I hate it when people stare at me in public. I’m embarrassed. I jump when I hear my name spoken at nearby tables. I often wonder if other stars feel the same way, like a gold fish in a bowl—with no privacy.
It seems to be a must in show business to maul and paw you with a greeting. To plant a big whiskey-odored kiss on your cheek. I resent this when it’s done to me. I’m annoyed at over-demonstrative people. I’m sure it’s fun at home but I just don’t go for that bit . . . in public. I also resent females being over-demonstrative with my husband and I don’t spare the horses in telling them off, I’ll tell you, I’m never annoyed by the same person twice.
O.K. On to the next one. You want to know Who are my friends in Hollywood? My friends and Marty’s friends are compiled in no other way than your friends. Usually they’re people with whom you work, neighbors or old school chums. But mostly one finds friends in the associated fields of your business. So our friends vary from stars, actors, music publishers, band leaders, writers, producers and press agents and some with whom we find much in common on a spiritual basis.
We have many close friends, including Jerry Lewis and his wonderful wife Patti. Now this might sound like a strange combination, Doris Day and Jerry Lewis. But remember actors aren’t acting all the time, Jerry is a wonderful guy and a very considerate father, husband and friend. Isn’t it wonderful about their new baby? . . . Dick Powell and June Allyson are another couple we see very often. The Sam Weisses—he’s a music publisher—are very close friends. Danny Thomas and his wife, we love and adore. Jack Benny and Mary are another couple we see often. We see our friends and enjoy each other with small dinner parties at home.
If a big group gets together, it becomes involved as to where to go, what to do and somehow, Marty always winds up as the social director. He automatically becomes the leader. It was funny when Jack Benny arrived one night with a whistle on a chain for Marty. Jerry Lewis brought a basketball and told Marty he was now official coach of their team.
Friends, fine friends, are where you find them. As the saying goes, “Show me your friends and I’ll know who you are.”
Gosh, I’ve really been on a soap box, and here comes that man for his box, so I’ll step down. Sure, I’ll answer some more questions—some other time.
What? Just one more? All right, let’s have it. What do I think is the most exciting picture of my career? I’m glad you forced me for one more question. I’m fully convinced that to date the most exciting picture of my career is in the making right here at Carmel. I play the title role of Julie, being directed by Andrew Stone. The most unusual part of this picture is that no studio sets are being used. Every shot is on “live locations,” taken at airports, in the air during actual flight of a plane, a magnificent chase along the picturesque seventeen mile drive at Carmel. We have so much to work with and a wonderful script from which to work, so that I think this is it. Also, I am playing a part so different from my usual song and dance routines that . . . well you’ll see a new Day. This picture is really an emotional suspense-packed drama but I do sing one song. As a matter of fact it’s part of my contract that I sing at least one song in every picture I do.
It is a quote. MODERN SCREEN MAGAZINE JULY 1956