Thursday, May 7, 2009

On Men, Beasts, Gardens & Doris Day

America's most virginal movie queen of the 1950s, Doris Day, was driven into bankruptcy by her third husband, and her fourth husband divorced her after complaining she was so passionate about her animal-rights activism that she had no time for him.

“If it's true that men are such beasts, this must account for the fact that most women are animal lovers," said the ever-sunny film star, also noting in her autobiography, "You don't really know a person until you live with him, not just sleep with him. Sex is not enough to sustain marriage. I have the unfortunate reputation of being Miss Goody Two-shoes, America's Virgin, and all that, so I'm afraid it's going to shock some people for me to say this, but I staunchly believe no two people should get married until they have lived together. The young people have it right. What a tragedy it is for a couple to get married, have a child, and in the process discover they are not suited for one another!"

Today, Doris Day is in her 80s and lives without a man in Carmel, California, where she runs the pet-friendly the Cypress Inn, the Doris Day Animal League and the Doris Day Animal Foundation.

And she is also known to be a great lover of gardens.

Here's a great Doris Day website quoting biographer A.E. Hotchner's first meeting with Doris in the summer of 1973:

Doris arrived fifteen minutes late on a chariot of sunshine. Kitsch metaphor or not, that exactly describes her entrance as she came striding into the garden, yellow sweater, beige slacks, yellow straw hat perched on the back of her blond hair, glowing skin, an aura of buoyant euphoria playing off her. The luncheon guests looked up from their tables...and you could feel a sort of mass positive response to her smiling, striding presence.

I want to be like Doris Day when I'm old. I'm on the right track so far: 1) I have cats; 2) my husband is a beast; 3) I'm getting old.

And I'm growing a garden on my fire escape and becoming a weirdly obsessed urban gardener with plans to make my block the greenest block in Brooklyn:

So hooray for Doris Day, who said: "I like joy; I want to be joyous; I want to have fun on the set; I want to wear beautiful clothes and look pretty. I want to smile and I want to make people laugh. And that's all I want. I like it. I like being happy. I want to make others happy."

Here she is, making us happy singing "Octopus' Garden":


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