From those early roles playing the tomboyish but inevitably lovable young lady in various musicals to more grown-up roles starring opposite characters like James Garner and, of course, Rock Hudson, Doris Day had a very pleasant, almost perfect public image. But that was largely a public image, as behind the scenes Doris Day leads a roller coaster of a life suffering from troubled marriages, depression, heart ruptures and financial problems thanks to deception, all of which put her in the same league. than other stars like Judy. Garland and Elizabeth Taylor when it comes to personal misery. In fact, Day’s private life is so shocking that it is hard to believe that this wonderful woman and actress who delighted us on the big screen with her warm smile was in such misery away from the cameras.
In his book “Doris Day: Reluctant Star,” biographer David Bret delves into Doris Day’s career and life and, like other Doris Day biographies, including hers, has more than a few shocks between the pages. And not all surprises are about Doris Day, as there are several other stars whose names come up when it comes to shocking relationships, including an openly gay actor who is rumored to have had relationships with two icons, James Dean and Elvis Presley, although he is. an actor. Rumor has it that there is no evidence to support this claim. But that’s just one of many revealing moments in a book that’s packed with them, giving it an almost gossipy feel.
Being a biography, “Doris Day: Reluctant Star” follows the proven route of chronicling Day’s life from her childhood in Evanstown, Cincinnati, until she moved away from the spotlight and lived as many claim she is a recluse who take care of stray cats. And animals. Growing up, young Doris trained to be a dancer, but her plans for a dance career were cut short when an accident left her with a serious leg injury. In many ways it was a mixed blessing because if she hadn’t had to dance at all, we might never have had the pleasure of movies like “Pillow Talk,” “On Moonlight Bay,” and of course, “Calamity Jane.”
While biographer David Bret covers Day’s life, he covers all the elements of her singing career, which led to her becoming an actress, and of course goes into detail about her life away from the public, which to be frank is where “Doris Day: Reluctant Star” is the most interesting. As already mentioned, Day’s personal life was in stark contrast to her public life and when you find out that she smoked, cursed, and had various relationships and affairs, you regret it. But you are also baffled when you learn that several men in your life beat you up and scammed you out of money. If it weren’t for Doris Day having already mentioned these things in her own autobiography, you would be questioning the authenticity of these almost revealing moments.
As someone who appeared in quite a few movies, Doris Day worked with many household names along the way and many of them receive a mention, such as Rock Hudson, who became one of her closest friends. Others mentioned are Frank Sinatra, who didn’t have a great working relationship with Day, while Billy de Wolfe did, which is very evident if you watch their movies together. There are so many others and it gives “Doris Day: Reluctant Star” an almost complete feel because you get the positives and negatives when it comes to Day’s career.
With Day turning her back on show business, the last two chapters are a bit less than meaty at all and the lack of information on what Day has done since her career is quite spotty with rumors about her walking the streets late at night. of the night collecting stray cats to take care of being the only important thing. But one of the funniest moments in these last pages is the fact that some people were under the impression that Doris Day had passed away as a recluse and were shocked to find that she was still alive and well.
The main issue I have with “Doris Day: Reluctant Star” isn’t all the juicy gossip statements, but rather that when it comes to Day’s film career, Bret goes into a lot of detail and I mean a lot. For each film, he dedicates page after page of information, often giving us detailed descriptions of the story rather than interviews with his co-stars or Day’s own feelings about their performances and sometimes dubious choice of films. It means that for those who have seen the various films Doris Day made there are pages that end up being almost boring and require skipping.
“Doris Day: Reluctant Star” as such is not a bad biography, it covers much of what has already been said about Doris Day in other books covering her life and career, but it is still an interesting and entertaining read, especially with all the revelations about other well-known names. The only downside is that it sometimes feels like biographer David Bret has stuffed it with stories from Day’s numerous movies rather than giving us the behind-the-scenes information that leaves us yearning.