September 18

This Day in History

Hollywood

Sep 18, 1974:

Doris Day wins lawsuit

On September 18, 1974, actress Doris Day wins a $22.8 million malpractice suit against her former lawyer.

Day, one of the biggest box office draws of the 1950s and '60s, had allowed her third husband, Martin Melcher, to handle her finances. After his death in 1968, she discovered that her $20 million in life savings had disappeared, and sued her lawyer for mismanagement. She was not able to recover the full value of the award, however, and settling for $6 million.

Day was born in Cincinnati in 1924. Though she was a promising dancer as a teenager, a car accident ended her dancing days and turned her toward music instead. She sang and recorded with several bands. In 1948, she was pulled in at the last minute to replace singer/actress Betty Hutton in Romance on the High Seas (1948), Day's first film. Audiences adored her, and she went on to star in dozens of other films, including April in Paris (1952), Calamity Jane (1953), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) and The Pajama Game (1957). She made her last film in 1968, With Six, You Get Eggroll. After her husband’s death, she began work on a television series, The Doris Day Show (1968-1973) and also appeared in television specials.

Day was awarded the Cecil B. DeMille Award for her outstanding contribution to entertainment by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association at the Golden Globe Awards in 1989.

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