Doris Day Said She Wasn’t the ‘All-American Virgin Queen’

Actor Doris Day made a name for herself after appearing in Romance on the High Seas. During her career, she gained a reputation for being the sweet, All-American girl. However, Day said she was far from who everyone thought she was. She wanted to shed this image and let the world know who she really was.

Doris Day’s movies and TV shows

Doris Day
Doris Day | Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Day made her film debut in the 1948 movie Romance on the High Seas, in which she played Georgia Garrett. A year later, she played Martha Gibson in the movie My Dream Is Yours. From 1968 until 1973, she also starred in The Doris Day Show. Some of Day’s other movies include Caprice, Send Me No Flowers, Please Don’t Eat the Daisies, Pillow Talk, Love Me or Leave Me, The West Point Story, and Where Were You When the Lights Went Out?

Doris Day didn’t like her good-girl reputation

Doris Day at dinner
Doris Day at dinner | Santi Visalli/Getty Images

Day was often portrayed as the pure, All-American girl. She had a reputation for being the “good girl.” Day said Oscar Levant once made a joke, saying, “I knew her before she was a virgin.” However, Day didn’t want people to see her that way.

Day said she wanted to release an autobiography because she desired to share the “true, honest story” of who she really was. She didn’t want to be seen as a “Goody Two-Shoes.” According to her, her public image was inaccurate. “It has nothing to do with the life I’ve had,” she tells author A.E. Hotchner in Doris Day: Her Own Story.

Day began singing and traveling with bands when she was just 16 years old. She says her lifestyle wasn’t anything like the girl-next-door label everyone gave her. She revealed she had one-night stands and lived on a bus. By the age of 17 she was pregnant and married to a husband she says hit her while she was pregnant.  

What James Garner thought of Doris Day

Actor James Garner in 1965
Actor James Garner in 1965 | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Actor James Garner shared his thoughts about Day in Hotchner’s book. His impression was that Day was “a very sexy lady who doesn’t know how sexy she is.” Garner said this is what made her so charming. He described her as being both sexy and sweet.

“All sweetness and charm up front, and that turns people on, and I don’t think she could have had the success she’s had if she didn’t have this sexy whirlpool frothing around underneath her All-American girl exterior,” added Garner.

Doris Day didn’t take her success for granted

Day said she was in the No. 1 spot for five years. However, she tried not to get caught up when it came to where people placed her on the list of best actors. She didn’t take her success as an actor lightly. Day says she was aware of the “depressing” fact that if you’re considered No.1, then “the only place you can go is down.”

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