Hollywood icon Doris Day received one heck of a birthday surprise this year. It turns out Doris is actually two years older than she thought she was.
According to ABC News, Day was under the impression she would be turning 93-years-old on Monday, April 3. As it turns out, The Associated Press obtained a copy of Doris’ birth certificate which shows Day was born in 1922, not 1924 as she had thought. This means Day is actually turning 95.
Doris Day brushed off the birthday surprise with a laugh stating, “I’ve always said that age is just a number and I have never paid much attention to birthdays, but it’s great to finally know how old I really am!”
But just how did Doris lose track of her actual birthdate? While some might speculate the mistake is due to Day’s advancing age, the mistaken birth year has actually been generated for decades. Her spokesman, Charley Cullen Walters, offers a different explanation.
Day’s acting career started when she was in her twenties with her role in Romance on the High Seas. Walters thinks that early on in Doris’ career, someone must’ve erroneously written down her birth year as 1924.
“The story I have heard the most is that at one point Doris was up for a role when quite young and her age may have been miswritten on the audition form. We don’t know if that’s correct, but if so it could’ve simply stuck for all these years,” Walters said.
Regardless of how or why it happened, it’s not uncommon in Hollywood for actors and actresses to shave some years off of their age to get roles. Oddly, though, Doris Day left the acting realm more than forty years ago, so it wasn’t as if she really needed to hide her true age.
Doris’ last noted acting appearance was in 1973 on The Doris Day Show. She also had a television variety special in 1975 called Doris Day Today which gave her the opportunity to sing with Perry Como and John Denver and a brief cable series run from 1985-86 with a talk show type venue in Doris Day and Friends.
Since retiring from acting, while Day’s music from the 50s and 60s has continued to pop up in various films and television shows, Doris has remained virtually out of the spotlight. Instead, Day has chosen to turn the focus away from herself and toward promoting animal welfare. She has spent the past several decades dedicated to running The Doris Day Animal Foundation.
According to a 2008 CBS News piece, Doris Day was so ready to leave her career behind her that she had even ditched being called “Doris” and instead her friends would refer to her as “Clara.”
Biographer David A. Kaufman noted that while Doris Day had tremendous success as a movie star which included winning a Golden Globe and Emmy and receiving an Oscar nomination, Day ultimately just wanted to be a regular person and never experienced the success in the one thing she had hoped for…a happy marriage. In fact, her last marriage to Barry Comden ended in 1981. At that time, Doris’ soon-to-be-ex husband said Day showed more affection and concern for animals than she did for him.
“The only thing she (Doris) ever really wanted was to have a happy marriage and a happy family life,” Kaufman said. “And it’s the one thing she never had. She was married four times, but she was ultimately not happy with any of her husbands.”
Despite that disappointment, Doris has gone on to live a full and productive life. It just happens to be two years longer than Doris Day thought it was.
[Featured Image by Keystone/Getty Images]