Friend Reveals How Doris Day Spent Her Final Years Giving Back to Her Fans – ‘She Called Them Her Friends’
Hopefully, her legacy will be able to live on for generations to come with fans of all ages
A close friend of Hollywood legend Doris Day, who passed away last year at the age of 97, is speaking out to shoot down rumors that she was a recluse in her final years.
Lea Price, who was friends with Day for over forty years, said that while she devoted her last years to fighting for animal rights, she never forgot her fans. He added that she was so in awe of the number of letters that she continued to receive over the years that she loved corresponding with her fans.
“Oh my gosh, I don’t think any other celebrity stayed as connected with her fans as she did,” Price told Fox News. “She loved her fans. She called them her friends and she made everyone feel as though they were her friends. When they wrote to her, she would try to answer as many letters as she could.”
Price, who helped Day go through her mail just before she died, remembered one theme that kept coming up in the letters that she received.
“The recurring theme was ‘You saved me,’” recalled Price. “She never quite understood that. She always felt, ‘I didn’t do anything.’ She appreciated the sentiment, but she was always amazed at all the love that she would receive from all over the world. And really until the day she died, she would get hundreds of letters every month.”
“Really, what you saw was what you got with Doris,” he continued. “She was just a happy, positive person.”
Day retired from acting for good when her television show “The Doris Day Show” ended in 1973, and though she ceased working in entertainment after that, Price insisted that she was not a recluse.
“She loved her home,” Price said. “She loved her pets. She loved answering all her fan mail. There were some articles published in the tabloids that said, ‘She’s a recluse. She doesn’t go out,’ which was totally untrue. She loved going out and going shopping. She loved her grocery shopping and she would go out to eat every once in a while. And she still kept busy with her two animal charities, which are both thriving and continuing today. She was actively involved until she passed away. She was very content.”
He went on to say that Day kept getting acting offers well into her final years.
“She continued to get offers,” said Price. “She never said that she was retiring or leaving Hollywood. I think it was something that just sort of evolved. She just moved on to other things. She always said, probably more so in the ‘80s and ‘90s, ‘I might work again. You never know.’ But I think she was just content doing what she was doing. She said at one point she felt like today’s movies were for the young people and no longer relevant to what she had been doing. She appreciated them, but she just thought, ‘OK, I’ve moved on. I’m doing something else now.’ And she was happy.”
Day turned all of the offers down, however, so that she could devote her time to helping animals.
“She and a group of actors [originally] started Actors and Others for Animals here in Hollywood, and it was because they could use their celebrity to bring awareness to the animal welfare issues that really weren’t being addressed back in the ‘70s,” said Price. “So many animals were being euthanized in shelters. And so she brought awareness to spaying and neutering and the whole homeless pet population, and really just devoted the latter part of [her life] to it.”
Price concluded by saying that just before Day died, she told him that she hoped to be remembered for more than just her acting.
“What she wanted to be remembered for was making this world a better one for animals,” said Price. “Hopefully that legacy will continue on through the Doris Day Animal Foundation… Hopefully, her legacy will be able to live on for generations to come. I’m grateful that we have all of her recordings and films so younger people can get acquainted with her and hopefully see all the good she did in the world.”