There aren’t many true movie stars still with us from Hollywood’s golden age, or even from the 1950s and 60s, when the studio era was on the wane. But one star who occupied a unique place in America’s heart, as a top box-office attraction and a top-selling recording artist at the same time, is still alive and well: Doris Day. She avoids the limelight and hasn’t appeared on camera in many years. (I felt very lucky to spend some time with her for Entertainment Tonight in 1993, during a weekend-long fundraiser she held for her Animal League.)
In recent years, however, she has made herself available for telephone interviews with selected journalists when she had—
something particular to say, as when her TV series was released on DVD. My friend Will Friedwald was pleased that she was willing to talk with him not long ago when he wrote an obituary on Mitch Miller, who oversaw her recording career at Columbia Records in the 1950s.
In October, New York City radio personality Jonathan Schwartz spoke with Day for a full hour on his weekend program, which airs on the public radio station WNYC. You can listen to the entire conversation, which is punctuated by several of the singer’s records, HERE.
It’s absolutely fascinating to hear how she regards herself as she recalls her childhood, her entry into show business, and her approach to songs. Schwartz is properly dumbfounded by her casual attitude toward her career in general and especially her work in the movies. (Wait till you hear her story about turning down South Pacific.)
She comes off much as she always has: cheerful and unpretentious. I found the conversation absolutely mesmerizing.