Sunday 3rd April 2016

92 - a good age in any era and when I saw the post-Doris-party pics of Doris in Carmel Doris looks as beautiful as she ever did. What is her secret to longevity? If I was to ask maybe she would say living a simple, happy life, eating well, taking moderate exercise or maybe it's knowing how much she is still loved around the world. It would have been Frank Sinatra's 100th birthday this year so it was sad to hear of his son's death three weeks ago at a young 72. When looking at Doris' contemporaries there are a surprising number still alive:

Olivia de Havilland - born 1st July 1916,
Co-star chiselled-chin actor Kirk Douglas born 9th September 1916
Zsa Zsa Gabor - 6th February 1917
Carol Channing - 31st January 1921



Someone who was a collaborator and competitor to the roles Doris received is Janis Paige who co-starred with Doris in Don't Eat The Daisies but it was her stage role as Babe Williams in the Pyjama Game that was her career breakthrough, even though when it transferred to film Doris took the role and it must have been tough for her especially as all the other actors transferred from stage to film. It must have been history repeating itself when Julie Andrews lost out to Audrey Hepburn for My Fair Lady! Older than Doris by a couple of years but eternally glamorous born 16th September 1922.

And who could forget Glynis Johns in Mary Poppins born 5th October 1923. Even Dick Van Dyke is 90! Not far behind is Clint Walker born 30th May 1927 who was the statuesque actor in Send Me No Flowers.

Let's hope that Doris' honourable Oscar nomination isn't too long in coming. What is wrong with these people?



It was exciting to perform on her actual birthday and I made my three favourite cakes to celebrate: lemon drizzle, coffee and walnut and a Victoria sandwich. I felt we should add a special guest for the occasion so asked my longtime singing buddy Gavin Skeggs to be my Howard Keel and Frank Sinatra. Calamity Jane is such a favourite with any audience so we started with I Can Do Without You together, Black Hills of Dakota followed so we could sing the gorgeous harmonies as per the recording with both Simon Golding and Arthur Lea joining in. Gavin then sang the song of the show Higher Than A Hawk and got the biggest cheer of the day. His gorgeous bass voice soared over Simon Golding's new arrangement. I brought along a pot of daffodils as highlighted in Secret Love. The simple un-showy flowers seemed to fit with Doris' real life persona.



In the second half Gavin and I sang the beautiful You My Love from the film Young at Heart. Gavin's voice is so rich and powerful. Why hadn’t I thought of asking him before? Gavin and I have been singing alongside each other for so many years. We met in a band called Hot and Horny then spent six years with the Tarantinos and have danced alongside each other at weddings, parties etc. so it was wonderful for him to highlight the other side of his voice - after all he is classically trained. His daughter Ivy aged 6 looked on so proud and of course knows the words better than her dad!

We had the same lineup as last year. I say it every year but without the wonderful band behind me I am nothing: solid, inventive, and above all sympathetic to the era as we always have an audience who not only know a lot about Doris but also a lot about jazz and the era of the 50s. A highlight for me was Spencer's bass playing on Close Your Eyes. I think in future we should do it as a duet - just like Sheila Jordan used to do: just bass and vocals.

I have three costumes. The main two I had never worn before and they were rare vintage charity shop finds - tightly boned and it made me remember how tiny Doris and other women of the era were. Not sure my comment about the battle of the bulge having a very different meaning today compared to 1944 went down too well. When I was handing out cake to the audience later one lady remarked, "You might make them but you certainly don't eat them!" Incentive - that's what I have. I love the dresses and couldn't imagine finding modern versions. Shoes - well that's another thing. Only Jimmy Choo will do!



Birthdays and anniversaries. Yes there were lots today and more than I can remember. My favourite was Morrison Brown who was 85 and had been a massive fan all his life. He first heard Sentimental Journey in the forties and he too had been a soldier just like the story I told of Rock Hudson. His wife of 42 years was also there along with his children for his special surprise and he told me he had tears all the way through as I brought back so many musical memories for him. These are the greatest compliments a singer can receive and I felt humbled and privileged to have such an audience. Heather and Mike were celebrating their 41st wedding anniversary and many others were celebrating birthdays including the lovely Ruth Northey who was celebrating her 41st with her beautiful daughter Ivy.

Thanks again to all the staff at Ronnie Scott's for making the experience so wonderful every time and of course thanks to Doris. Happy birthday. Long live queen Doris!






If you want to help Doris and give to her foundation please find the following link:

Info on Doris Day Fan Clubs:

Wonderful website and facebook page run by STEPHEN MUNNS

The Friends of Doris Day (FODD)
[ Started in 1997 by Sue Gokgor - it is now the only UK based fan club ]
71 East Avenue

The Australian Doris Day Society
[ The society was formed in 1989 by Al Moore in conjunction with the now defunct UK based fan club run by Martyn Daye ]
PO BOX 607
Woy Woy
NSW 2256