Doris Day is known for her work in big Hollywood musicals from Calamity Jane to April in Paris. As well as performing in film, she had some big chart hits with songs from musicals and had three of her songs inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. But in the late 1960s, when she was at her height, a financial shock forced her to go somewhere she never wanted to go: working in TV.
Reports have suggested Doris Day did not care to work in TV, however she did end up performing for five years on The Doris Day Show.
It may come as a surprise to many, given how long the show lasted, that Doris did not want this job.
However, it turns out this was caused by some mismanagement of her affairs by those she trusted.
Not only was she swindled out of money, but her third husband and manager Martin Melcher also made decisions about her career without running them past her.
Speaking to OK magazine in 1996, Doris said: “It was awful. I was really, really not very well when Marty [Melcher passed away, and the thought of going into TV was overpowering.
“But he’d signed me up for a series. And then my son Terry [Melcher] took me walking in Beverly Hills and explained that it wasn’t nearly the end of it.
“I had also been signed up for a bunch of TV specials, all without anyone ever asking me.”
Doris could have, despite her husband signing her up for a TV series she did not wish to do, walked away from the project.
However, as finance expert Gemma Godfrey revealed exclusively to Express.co.uk, Doris was left with little choice due to her lawyer leaving her with barely any money left after her husband’s death.
Gemma said: “Doris Day, she was worth $200 million (£145.5million.)
“But she had to go back to TV because she was taken advantage of… and there are lessons for us all to learn, because I think everybody can [learn from this.]
“You see this nowadays with financial abuse between people… it shows how important it is to have control over your own finances.”
For Doris, her finances were handled by her husband and Jerome B Rosenthal, who acted as legal counsel and her business manager.
While the jury is still out on Martin’s knowledge of Jerome’s affairs, it was Jerome who was forced to pay $22million (£16million) back to Doris after she took him to court over his handling of her finances.
According to the LA Times staff writer Myrna Oliver, who reported on the case in 1974, Martin was in ‘blind awe’ of Jerome, meaning many issues over money were not dealt with.
Myrna wrote: “Entertainer Doris Day was awarded $22,835,646 for fraud and malpractice from her former lawyer and business manager, Jerome B. Rosenthal, whose conduct was repeatedly denounced as ‘gross and outrageous’ by Superior Court Judge Lester E. Olson.
“The one-hour oral decision by Olson, who handled the 99-day trial without a jury, ended 13 consolidated lawsuits involving Rosenthal’s handling of the finances of Miss Day and her late husband and manager, Martin Melcher, over 20 years…
“My understanding is that Rosenthal and Melcher had adjoining offices, each keeping a close eye on the other, each knowing how cunning and deceptive the other was.”
After their dealings with Doris’ finances, it was believed her fortune had shrunk from the millions she was previously worth to nearer $500,000 (£364,000.)
This, as well as a sense of duty, is what drove Doris to work in TV, despite having previously hoped this would not be where she ended up.
After five years of The Doris Day Show, she hosted a short-lived talk show on the Christian Broadcasting Network in the mid-1980s.
Other than her talk show Doris mainly stepped out of the public eye from the end of The Doris Day Show in 1973, focusing instead on her philanthropic work with animal rights.
She founded the Doris Day Animal Foundation in 1978 and the Doris Day Animal League in 1994, which is an advocacy group working for animal rights.
Doris died on aged 97-years-old on May 13, 2019.