Wednesday, March 5, 2014

IWSG: Doris Day

Doris Day, 1957 (public domain photo)
Doris Day may seem like an odd choice for an encouraging writer's post, but bear with me.

Anyone who's ever seen a Doris Day movie will never forget her.  From her thousand-watt smile to her ultra-feminine voice, she embodied sweetness and sunshine.  But contrary to her cheerful and angelic demeanor, her personal life was full of hardship and tragedy.

CRIPPLING ACCIDENT

Doris was a child dance prodigy and performed locally in Cincinnati in her early teens.  She was well on her way to becoming an excellent professional dancer until a car she was in was struck by a train.  Her leg was crushed, as were her dreams of being a dancer.

Did she give up? No.  She began to sing.


ABUSIVE MARRIAGE

In her early twenties, she was working as a singer and got her big break when she was hired by Les Brown, a very famous bandleader of the time. Shortly after, she fell in love with and married his trombone player, Al Jorden.  It wasn't a happy marriage.  In her book,  Doris Day: Her Own Story,  she says he abused her and was so angry when she got pregnant that he repeatedly beat her in the stomach to cause a miscarriage. 

Did she give up?  No.  She had the baby, divorced Jorden, and two years later recorded her first big hit, "Sentimental Journey."

FILM CAREER AND FINANCIAL RUIN

Doris Day and Jimmy Stewart in "The Man Who Knew Too Much"
While singing at a Hollywood party, Doris was "discovered," offered a screen test, and immediately cast in "Romance on the High Seas" (1948).  In 1951, she married her agent, Marty Melcher and had a stellar film career, earning an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe award and receiving millions in film and recording deals.  But when Melcher died in 1968, Doris discovered he'd mishandled her money, leaving her broke, deeply in debt, and with a contract commitment that forced her to do a TV series -- and she didn't even like TV.

Did she give up?  No.  The need to clear her debts convinced Doris to go ahead with "The Doris Day Show," which was a huge success and ran from 1968-1973 and won her another Golden Globe award.

Doris Day and Rock Hudson in "Pillow Talk"

If you're still with me, here's the payoff.  

Doris Day is still alive and ninety years old.  Despite her traumatic past, she survived, she rose to the challenge of learning new things, and adapted herself to the changes forced upon her.  

As writers, we all struggle with personal setbacks, frustration over our own limitations, and career disappointments.  Things rarely go as planned.  Don't be afraid of change or disappointments.  Roll with the punches, do the best you can with what you have, and you'll find success even if it's not necessarily the way you'd planned.



This is a post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh.  It exists so the community of blogging writers can share and support each other, blog-hopping to cheerlead and commiserate.  To find out more, visit: Insecure Writer's Support Group.  Plus, check out the IWSG Website for lots of helpful info and links.


49 comments:

Andrew Leon said...

You have to just keep going.

Lynda R Young said...

This post really speaks to me, Lexa. I had no idea about Doris Day's real struggles.
Hugs

D.G. Hudson said...

Like the new banner, Lexa. Don't care for Doris Day, but I admire any woman who is strong minded enough to leave a bad situation.

Heather Musk said...

This is a great post Lexa, until now I knew nothing about Doris Day and her life. She truly is inspirational so thanks for sharing, it gives me a boost to get on with my lot now.

Cathy Keaton said...

What an inspiration she is! I never knew about Doris Day's life and that she's still alive. It's amazing how she kept on getting back into the saddle to ride again and again. I definitely agree that she is inspirational and that we just need to weather through life's storms. I feel the truth of that more now than ever. Thanks for this post!

Shah Wharton said...

I love Doris. You can't watch her perform and not sing along and grin at her incredible voice and clothing coordination. But yes, her life behind technicolor was not so sparkly and she was mos certainly a trooper. Great selection of inspiring icon, Lexa. X

shahwharton.com

Natalie Aguirre said...

What an inspiring story. I used to watch her movies but didn't know everything she had to overcome in life. So true, we can't give up.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Now that's really a life of things not going according to plan. But she didn't give up and we shouldn't either.

Winter Moon said...

A great post and an inspirational woman.

Never give up :)

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

Going through pain only makes the good days more joyous. Even those who seem to have it all, like successful people like Doris Day, have gone through much to reach their goal.

mooderino said...

Very inspiring. A real survivor with a great attitude. Que sera sera.

mood
Moody Writing

Ms Misantropia said...

What a great post, and what a woman.
I always just though of Doris Day as what a Swede and an American would produce (who'd then go on to bleach her hair). Now I have more background to the actual woman, thank you.

SA Larsenッ said...

Such a remarkable woman. She totally turned up her chin at adversity. I relate to her because of having to give up my own dream of dancing. You've chosen wisely, L. :)

Sheri at Writer's Alley

Home of Rebel Writer CREED 2014
Mighty Minion Bureau Team #atozchallenge

Julie Flanders said...

I didn't know that Doris had so much trauma in her life. Inspiring for sure. I really admire her for all the work she has done for animals through her foundation and advocacy organization.

Donna B. McNicol said...

Best IWSG post I've read in months....thank you for sharing this wonderful history of an actress that was always a favorite. I won't give up!

Jessica Lawson said...

Wow, consider me educated! I had no idea about Doris Day's background and journey~ so inspiring!

Stephen Hayes said...

I was unaware of many of these facts concerning Doris Day. There's much in her character to be admired.

Kate Larkindale said...

You've got to love Doris Day! I had an old projectionist at one of my cinemas who absolutely loved The Pajama Game. I think I've seen that one about 10 times now....

Michelle Wallace said...

And she's still alive?
I had no idea of her troubles... all I remember is the smiling & cheerful face... just goes to show...
What an inspiration!
HAPPY WORLD READ ALOUD DAY!
Writer In Transit

Elizabeth Hein said...

Thank you for highlighting Doris Day today. I listen to her songs all the time. I'd like to think her troubles are what gave her voice such depth.

Carol Kilgore said...

Excellent! I always liked those old Doris Day movies. I had no idea of all the struggles in her life. She's quite an inspiration. Thank you.

Nigel G. Mitchell said...

What an inspirational story. I had no idea Doris Day went through so much. I admire it when someone has a dream that's dashed (like her dancing career) and finds success in another career. That shows it's not the talent that makes you a success, it's your determination. Very applicable to writers. Most authors start out with one career, and pursue writing as a second career. It's their determination to make the writing their primary career that determines their success.

Melissa said...

That's something I admire about my parents' generation--how they tended to pick themselves up and keep going. They care(d) more about outward appearances than our generation does, or at least in a different way.

Great post! :)
http://chalfonthouse.com/hopespringsbooks/hopesprings-books/marriage-takes-three-g-e-hamlin/

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I love this reminder on just how special she is. I think my favourite movie, if I had to choose would be Young At Heart with Frank Sinatra. Want to hear something funny, I was a year old when it came out. I hope she's faring well.

Jenni Enzor said...

What a great post! I love Doris Day. Pillow Talk is one of my favorites. This was a great reminder to not give up. What an amazing woman!

Christine Rains said...

Amazing post! Doris is a great inspiration. I didn't know those things about her life, only that she didn't have a great one, but she's a strong woman and I admire that so much.

Lan said...

OMG! I completely needed this right now. I've always loved Doris Day but never realised that she went through so much. It puts the tiny insecurities that I have about my writing completely into perspective. I'll remember her story whenever I to remind myself to be strong. Thanks so much for this post.

Al Diaz said...

I liked Doris Day's movies. Didn't know she had suffered that much. Very nice post. And adaptation is really the key to survival.

Kristin Smith said...

Wow, I never knew Doris Day had overcome so much! What an inspiration she is to all of us!

Your post is a great reminder that even if things don't go as planned, we shouldn't give up. I needed to hear that! Thank you for such an inspiring post!!

Speaking of inspiring, this post would be an awesome addition to Unicorn Bell's Inspiring Stories contest. You should think about entering (March 24th-28th). Head over to UB to check it out!

Denise Covey said...

Doris Day's story is amazing. Another icon with a much deeper story than most imagine is Audrey Hepburn.

DMS said...

I had no idea about Doris Day's story! Wow! She is so inspiring and the fact that she never gave up is something we can all look up to and try to emulate. I learned so much here today. Thank you! :)
~Jess

N. R. Williams said...

I love Doris Day. I didn't know any of this about her. As you know my own life is difficult but giving up just isn't what I have planned. It may take me a little long than someone else but I will persist.
Nancy

Lara Lacombe said...

What an inspiration--I had no idea!

JeffO said...

Great post, Lexa. I did not realize Ms. Day was still alive, nor did I realize she had endured so much. Thanks for sharing!

Robin said...

Very inspiring, Lexa! Life rarely goes as planned. True true true.

I am going to share a funny little something something with you. I was very undecided about my song for this last Battle of the Bands. Right up there in the running was Sentimental Journey. So, I have spent a lot of time recently listening to Doris Day and that song. Some of the YouTube videos include pictures of her while the song plays. She was a beautiful, classy lady. Thank you for sharing her story. She is now inspiring as well!!!!

Cherie Reich said...

What an inspiring story! The most I knew about Doris Day before reading this post was the mention of her in Grease. I had no idea she was still alive either.

Lady Lilith said...

Wow. She truly is an inspirational person. It is amazing how she overcame so much. I think as people we can all learn from her.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

I love Doris Day and have probably seen all of her movies. This is the first time I've heard of her struggles though. What a brave woman. Makes me love her even more. Inspirational post, Lexa.

LD Masterson said...

You didn't mention that she also founded the Doris Day Animal League dedicated to improving the humane treatment of animals. Truly a classy lady.

klahanie said...

Hi Lexa,

That makes perfect sense. Doris Day, an inspirational legend. I find that adversity has brought out the most emotive aspects to my writing.

Thank you for this, Lexa.

Gary

Chemist Ken said...

Wow, kind of makes my journey through the world of writing seem mundane and easy. thanks for the IWSG post.

Rhonda Albom said...

Wonderful post for IWSG. I had no idea what a struggle Doris Day had in her life, and I love the comparison to writing. thanks. Mine was late getting up.

Medeia Sharif said...

What an amazing life story to beat the odds and rid one self of the negative, and she has a strong spirit. I had no idea about her background.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

Awesome. I had no idea. Thanks for pointing out the inspiration that is Doris Day, Lexa. It's a great contribution to the IWSG.

Smiles,
xoRobyn

Heather Holden said...

Love Doris Day! (In fact, Pillow Talk is one of my all-time favorite movies.) I had no idea that she faced so many struggles, though. So inspiring to see how she preserved!

shelly said...

Excellent post!

Debra McKellan said...

Wow, that is really inspiring!

Candilynn Fite said...

Wowza. She is one tough cookie! Thanks for the dose of inspiration. Sorry it's taken me sooo long to get here. Been pretty busy with my March Madness challenge. :D

Anonymous said...

I'm really impressed with your writing skills as well as
with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself?

Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it's rare to see a great blog like this one today.


Here is my weblog bob marley inspirational quotes

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...