OFFBEAT: Actress Doris Day never a fan of attending annual Academy Awards

Off Beat with Philip Potempa
2009-10-07T00:00:00Z OFFBEAT: Actress Doris Day never a fan of attending annual Academy AwardsPhilip Potempa -, (219) 852-4327

Even if she doesn't agree with the sensationalistic approach and often fact-twisting "unnamed sources," Indianapolis author Mary Anne Barothy, admits tabloids like The National Enquirer and The Globe serve as proof that actress Doris Day is still popular with today's generation despite her 20-year absence from the public eye.

"Even though Doris has been retired and out of the public eye for years, she still keeps popping up in these grocery store check-out tabloids which I think shows that she still sells magazines," said Barothy, a former secretary for Day during the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Barothy, who later became the society columnist for The Indianapolis News, was at Lowell Public Library Saturday sharing a display of Doris Day correspondence and keepsakes and signing copies of her book "Day at a Time: An Indiana Girl's Sentimental Journey to Doris Day's Hollywood and Beyond" (2007 Hawthorne Publishing $18).

The sleepy seacoast town of Carmel, Calif., is where Day, now 87, is spending her retirement seclusion.

Other than her animal efforts, Barothy said Day doesn't like media attention.

Even now she hasn't had contact with Day in many years. In fact, when she finished her book, she sent Day a copy but heard no response.

"That tells me a few things," Barothy said.

"I've often heard she has not interest in reading any of these books written about her life. Or secondly, she doesn't really care about such things at this stage of her life. Or perhaps, she didn't mind my book because I didn't hear any opposition to it."

Barothy said the only public exposure Day does seem to embrace is a local California coast radio station's all-day annual tribute to her in recent years on her April 3 birthday. Reaching more than 2 million listeners, the Monterey station Magic 63 AM and radio personalities Ed Dickinson and Kevin Kahl play a marathon of Day music and in recent years, Day has called in to the station during breaks to be interviewed on the air.

And even when Barothy was still working for Day, she said the movie star preferred to live a very simple life.

For example, even though Day is annually invited to the Academy Awards, she never wanted to attend. For the 1974 Oscars, she even gave her tickets to Barothy and her gardener to attend in her place!

"There we were right on the red carpet, since Doris always received the very best seats and access, waiting in line with Paul and Linda McCartney behind us and Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward in front of us with columnists Army Archerd and Rona Barrett right there on either side of us interviewing all of the 'real stars,'" she said.

Barothy also explained Day's personal life, especially her marriages, were never very happy. While writing her book, Barothy reconnected with Day's grandson, Ryan Melcher, 25, the only child of her own only beloved child Terry Melcher, who died of cancer in 2004. She said for reasons unknown to him, the grandson has been estranged from his grandmother ever since his parents divorced in 1997.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at or 219.852.4327.

Today's Celebrity Birthdays

Bishop Desmond Tutu is 83. Singer Al Martino is 82. "The View" co-host Joy Behar and Col. Oliver North are 67. Drummer Kevin Godley of 10cc is 64. Country singer Kieran Kane of The O'Kanes is 60. Musician John Mellencamp and guitarist Ricky Phillips of Styx are 58. Russian President Vladimir Putin and actress Mary Badham ("To Kill A Mockingbird") are 57. Actress Christopher Norris ("Trapper John, M.D.") and drummer Tico Torres of Bon Jovi are 56. Musician Yo-Yo Ma is 54. Gospel singer Michael W. Smith is 52. "American Idol" judge Simon Cowell and guitarist Charlie Marinkovich of Iron Butterfly are 50. Actress Judy Landers is 48. Singer Ann Curless of Expose' is 46. Singer Toni Braxton is 42. Singer Thom Yorke of Radiohead is 41. Singer Damian Kulash of OK Go is 34. Singer Taylor Hicks ("American Idol") is 33 and actress Rachel McAdams ("Mean Girls") are 32. Actor Shawn Ashmore ("Animorphs") is 30.

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