Doris Day sings out for first time in 17 years

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Doris Day, America’s pert, honey-voiced sweetheart of the 1950s and 1960s, beguiled audiences with her on-screen romances opposite top Hollywood leading men Cary Grant, Rock Hudson and Jack Lemmon.

She adored and misses them all, says the 88-year-old Day. But her deepest yearning is reserved for her late son Terry Melcher, a record producer whose touch and voice are part of Day’s first album in nearly two decades.

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Actress Doris Day is shown in a promotional photo for her film, “Pillow Talk.” Day, America’s pert, sweet-voiced sweetheart of the 1960s, releases “My Heart,” her first album in 20 years.

“Oh, I wish he could be here and be a part of it. I would just love that. But it didn’t work out that way,” Day said, her voice subdued. It’s a voice rarely heard since she withdrew from Hollywood in the early 1980s to the haven she made for herself in the Northern California town of Carmel, where Clint Eastwood was once mayor.

“My Heart,” set for a Dec. 2 U.S. release, has induced Day to edge back to public attention. The CD includes 13 previously unreleased tracks recorded over a 40-year span, including covers of Joe Cocker’s “You Are So Beautiful,” the Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Daydream” and a handful of standards. All proceeds go to Day’s longtime cause, animal welfare.

A condensed version of the album was released in Britain earlier this fall and landed on the top 10 chart.

Melcher, who worked with bands including the Byrds and the Beach Boys, produced most of the songs and sang on two. He died of melanoma in 2004 at age 62, leaving a void that draws tears from Day when she speaks of him.

“I loved doing it and having Terry with me. That was important, just for me,” she said in an interview from Carmel. “I wouldn’t think it would be what it is. ... I just love that he is on it. And I miss him terribly, but I have that.”

The album’s release coincides with new recognition for the actress and singer.

It was announced this week that her recording of “Que Sera, Sera” (“Whatever Will Be, Will Be”), featured in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1956 thriller “The Man Who Knew Too Much” starring Day and Jimmy Stewart, will be included in the Grammy Hall of Fame. In January, Day is to be honored with the Los Angeles Film Critics Association’s career achievement award.

And that career was storied. She once ruled the box office in a string of fluffy comedies including “Pillow Talk” with Hudson (which earned her a best actress nomination) and “That Touch of Mink” opposite Grant, movies that showcased her verve and fresh-faced sexiness. Her sweet vocals helped make hits of pop tunes including “Sentimental Journey” and Oscar-winners “Que Sera, Sera” and “Secret Love.”

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