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Having Hudson play a character only pretending to be gay ultimately was not viewed as a threat.Tony Randall was featured in the film as the foil who fails to get the girl.with Rock Hudson, in 1959, Doris Day was one of the biggest stars in Hollywood history. Doris Day, the bouncy, fresh-faced, blonde singer who had been born Doris Kappelhoff, had her first hit song, "Sentimental Journey," in 1945, when she was 23.But after the death of her third husband a decade later, she devoted herself to animal-rights work, withdrawing more and more to her pet-filled Carmel estate in the wake of new financial and personal disappointments. Like Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, both of whom she worked with, Day parlayed her success as a big-band vocalist into a career in Hollywood (where two years would get shaved off her age).Like Day, Hudson was riddled with doubts and insecurities, stemming from a miserable childhood.When he was still Roy Harold Scherer Jr., his father abandoned him, and his mother and stepfather abused him emotionally and physically. In the course of shooting, Day adopted Hudson's habit of doing crossword puzzles during downtime on the set.In 1956, when she worked with Alfred Hitchcock on The Man Who Knew Too Much, she kept asking her co-star, James Stewart, why she was not getting any direction. Though Stewart assured her that Hitchcock usually spoke up only when an actor was doing something wrong, Day finally confronted the man himself, who put her mind at ease.
This will make you a big, important star." Over the next two decades, Day made 38 more films.It was producer Ross Hunter who recognized Day's potential to play a sensual character and cast her in the picture.And what better way to punch up that aspect of Day's nature than by pairing her with the six-foot-four hunk Rock Hudson, who had just been nominated for an Oscar for Giant? Excerpted from Doris Day: The Untold Story of the Girl Next Door, by David Kaufman, to be published in June by Virgin Books; © 2008 by the author.When Michael Curtiz, her director, learned that she wanted to take acting lessons, he admonished her against it. "No matter what you do onscreen, no matter what kind of part you play, it will always be you.
The other principal player was Thelma Ritter, whose tough, straight-talking characters had graced many films, including All About Eve and Rear Window.