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Impertinent Interview—Doris Day

“How do you feel about being sexy for the first time in pictures?” I asked Doris Day, who plays the very grown-up, very sexy role of Ruth Etting, the night-club singer, in “Love Me or Leave Me.”

“This new turn in my career is like a shot in the arm,” Doris said. “It’s my first picture away from my home lot, Warners, where I spent seven wonderful years, but where I first started playing All-American Girl roles. I never had a big exciting dramatic love scene until I came over to M-G-M for this picture—and certainly none like the one involving Jimmy Cagney and myself in this movie!

“I’ve discovered that I like to do things with some depth,” Doris added, “that use the emotions. I only hope the public likes what we’re trying to do.

“It’s such a complete switch,” Doris continued. “When I first came to M-G-M, I was like the little bird whose mother pushes her out of the nest. I’ve always been shy with strangers. After I get to know people, I’m not shy. But I’m terribly afraid of the first meeting. I think most people are shy, don’t you? They’re afraid to enter a room because they’re afraid of what other people in the room are thinking of them. But then you find people aren’t thinking about you at all. They’re thinking about their own problems.

“When I was with Les Brown’s orchestra at the beginning of my career, I had a real ball, because nobody knew who I was—and they just didn’t care. But things change when you become known. It took me a long time to find this out. You see, I made pictures, one after another, for three years at Warners before I stepped out of Burbank to make a personal-appearance tour with one of Bob Hope’s troupes. By then, people knew who I was. I couldn’t get used to the way they stared at me. I had been with Les so long, and nobody had stared. Now I kept thinking. ‘Oh gosh, I wonder if my hair is combed right’ or ‘What is the matter with me that they should stare so?’ And then I went into a shell.

“I’m just now coming out of that shell. I’ve pulled myself together and now I realize that it wouldn’t be normal if people didn’t stare at a movie star and ask for her autograph.”

I asked her how it felt to wear her first really sexy dress on a sound stage.

“I thought how ridiculous I must look,” she replied. “I came sneaking out on the set—it was a night-club set. But then gradually I came to realize that the other girls on the set were wearing low-cut sexy gowns, too, and then I started getting used to it and didn’t feel bad at all. As a matter of fact, I liked it!

“One of my dresses is a lavender gown that’s so tight I look like I’m sitting down when actually I’m standing. Honestly! And I love every second of it.




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