Every year, the Doris Day Animal Foundation (DDAF) and passionate volunteers put together an extraordinary weekend celebrating Doris Day’s birthday.
The proceeds from the weekend support worthy animal rights, care, education, and rehabilitation programs across the country.
Doris Day Birthday Celebration 2019!
Fans from all over the world flock to Doris’ beloved Carmel-by-the-Sea to participate in the weekend festivities.
My husband and I have been fortunate enough to attend the last three years.
Celebrity Guests & My Phone Call with Doris Day!
In previous years, we’ve enjoyed performances by the incredibly talented Scott Dreier and Laura Didier. We’ve watched Doris’ last feature film, With Six You Get Eggroll (1968), on the big screen, and had the opportunity to meet some of Doris’ co-stars and friends, including the elegant Miriam Nelson, the hilarious Bernie Kopell, and the incredibly sweet and welcoming Jackie Joseph.
At last year’s festivities, I had the once in a lifetime opportunity to TALK WITH DORIS DAY ON THE PHONE.
I still can’t believe it happened. Read more about my phone call with Doris here.
And read on for all about the 2019 Doris Day Birthday Celebration.
The Doris Day Birthday Celebration 2019 kicked off on Thursday night with a live performance by Karen Oberlin in the lounge of Doris’ Cypress Inn.
It was a fun, intimate show. Ms Oberlin sang her rendition of songs that Doris Day fans know and love from Doris’ remarkable singing career.
It was a great way to start the weekend.
On Friday night, we watched Pillow Talk (1959) on the big screen.
There’s something special about watching a classic film in a movie theater. Experiencing the chemistry and charisma of Doris Day and Rock Hudson, larger than life on the big screen, was truly magical. DDAF couldn’t have selected a more appropriate film to celebrate Doris with.
On Friday night we also met the hilarious impressionist Rich Little, the personable Peter Marshall, and the sparkling Jackie Joseph, who remembered us from last year’s birthday weekend!
Jackie’s cuteness and flare for comedy contributed greatly to the success of The Doris Day Show (1968-1973). It was a dream come true to talk with Jackie, and have her sign the photo above for me.
Peter Marshall was the M.C. for the evening. At 93 years old, Peter still has that majestic voice from his Hollywood Squares days. Peter was the nicest man, walking around like any other fan, with his sweet canine companion, Bongo, following his every move, even on stage. Peter and his lovely wife, Laurie, were kind and approachable all weekend.
Laurie kindly took the photo above of Peter and me, and insisted on taking a few pictures, with and without a flash, to ensure that I’d have options in case the photo turned out better one way or another. It was beyond thoughtful of her.
Here’s the photo Peter kindly signed for me.
To make Friday night even more special, Pillow Talk was introduced by TCM’s Ben Mankiewicz.
Ben did an excellent job introducing the film, and took pictures with us TCM fans afterwards.
Saturday evening started with a hilarious show by Rich Little.
Rich did many of his fabulous impressions. My favorites were Jimmy Stewart, Clark Gable, Cary Grant, and Ronald Reagan.
Rich also shared with us how he came to master his Johnny Carson impression. Apparently, Johnny Carson was a voice Rich initially couldn’t get the hang of. Rich ultimately got the inspiration he needed after observing an ostrich at the zoo.
Something about the bird’s movements and mannerisms clicked, and Rich finally perfected his Johnny Carson impression, which became one of his most popular.
Rich seemed a little less comfortable taking photos with fans than Ben, Peter, and Jackie. So it meant the world to Andrew and me that he agreed to take a photo with us.
Rich also signed the above photo for me. It doesn’t get much cooler than a signed photo of Rich Little with the Rat Pack.
When I showed Rich this photo of him with Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Milton Berle, he astutely observed that, whatever it was he was saying at the time, it must have been pretty good to have the full attention of these three legends. 😄
Doris Day Birthday Celebration Live Auction
Next came the live auction, expertly run by the talented Scott Dreier. Doris’ birthday weekends wouldn’t be the same without Scottie. His contributions each year are limitless.
(Be sure keep up on the dates of Scott Dreier’s amazing show, Doris and Me. It’s an inspiring tribute to Doris you don’t want to miss.)
Jackie Joseph nearly stole the show with her comments throughout the auction. The hilarious Jackie is as witty as ever, and still has her knack for physical comedy. When Jackie comically showcased a beautiful Stella McCartney dress that was up for action, Andrew and I doubled over with laughter.
Michael Feinstein Performs
The evening closed with a stellar performance by legendary “Ambassador of the Great American Songbook,” Michael Feinstein.
Feinstein’s talent is tremendous. He sang songs made popular by Doris, Nat King Cole, and Frank Sinatra, as well as classics from George and Ira Gershwin. The most memorable song of the evening was Feinstein’s duet with Peter Marshall, of Cole Porter’s “De-Lovely.”
To say Michael Feinstein deserved the standing ovation he received at the end of the show would be an understatement.
Doris Day Birthday Celebration 2019: The Sunday Serenade
The final, unofficial event of the weekend was a birthday serenade to the great lady herself.
Thanks to Scott Dreier’s efforts and kind soul, each year, all of us diehard fans have the opportunity to sing “Happy Birthday” to Doris from the golf course below her beautiful home.
Doris listens to the serenade each year from her balcony, waving and sweetly encouraging us on. Ever the classy lady, she treats us like guests, and will not leave the balcony until the very last fan is out of sight.
The 2019 golf course serenade was the perfect way to close the weekend.
The Last Doris Day Birthday Celebration
At the time, none of us knew it would be our last Doris Day Birthday Celebration.
Doris passed just over a month later, on May 13, 2019.
What an amazing opportunity it was to be so close to Doris, and celebrate her incredible accomplishments, on screen and for the animals.
I’ll forever cherish the friendships and memories made at Doris’ birthday celebrations. For me, it’s yet another facet of the remarkable Doris Day legacy.
I always wanted to attend Doris’ birthday in Carmel, but it never worked out. Thank you for sharing the details, it’s so nice to get a glimpse. Her foundation does amazing work.
Thanks for reading Natalie! Doris’ birthday celebrations are some of my most cherished memories. You are so right, DDAF continues to do great work. ♥️