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The 3 Faces of Doris - Will the Real Doris Day Please Stand Up

I'm a big Doris Day fan. Love her voice and thought she was an underrated actress. Not a big fan of those iconic movies with Rock Hudson and Tony Randall, but I enjoyed a lot of her earlier musicals and her few dramatic roles: Midnight Lace, Julie, Hitchcock's second version of The Man Who Knew To Much and her terrific turn as Ruth Etting in Love Me Or Leave Me. In those few roles she really got to show her dramatic chops.

The point of all this is because I am a big fan (and having access to a large amount of easily obtained material) from the early Nineties to the late Aughts I sent for her TTM many times. For myself multiple times and also sending to other names and addresses.  

Looking back, while I was organized enough to keep records of who I sent for as well as when and how many I sent and received, unfortunately what I did not do was record what specific items I sent each time. While I can get a good idea of what items were from when with someone I may have requested two or three times, someone like Doris whom I sent for 10 times over the years is an impossible call.

What I do remember is noticing that I would get different styles of signatures from Ms. Day on different occasions. And it wasn't in any specific order. Versions 1,2 and 3 would alternate at various times.

When JSA was in town several months back I had a few items I wanted to get authenticated and while I was there I had a chance to geek out a bit with one of their senior entertainment authenticators. We talked about Ms. Day and he indicated that, as expected,  JSA considers the Version 1 to be her authentic signature. It's hard to argue with that call, and I never want to be that collector wearing rose-coloured glasses when it comes to secretarial signatures. But while I'll concede the commonly held view is a logical scenario, there are a few things that keep me from being completely convinced.

The discrepancy that means the least to me is Ms. Day's claims that she always responded to all her mail herself. Humans lie. And it's logical that someone who uses a secretarial response in an effort to please fans with a response doesn't want to admit the deception. So while Ms. Day was said to be a lovely person who appreciated her fans and I'd like to think she was being honest, her claim doesn't mean much.

She was said to be a fairly reclusive person by the time I started mailing to her. What would make a recluse sometimes sign and sometimes pass the items received to others for signing?

TCM often airs little fillers between movies called Word Of Mouth with inside stories from those who were involved in making the movies. Doris did a very touching one about her beloved close friend and co-star Rock Hudson. At the end of those Word Of Mouth segments they close with the person speaking their name while signing their name over their picture. Doris signed with version 2. I've got to wonder: would she really use a secretarial signature in a segment about someone she cared for so much?

Doris Day had a lot of personal tragedy and was particularly bad at picking husbands. A lot of physical abuse. A later one stole all her millions and left her broke and deeply in debt to the IRS. The death of her only child that she was extremely close to, legendary music producer Terry Melcher, left her deeply despondent for the rest of her life. Her life was far from the sunny public image she projected.    

Now look at the signatures themselves.  While there are immediately obvious differences, there are also some notable similarities when you get past those capital "D"s.  

It may seem a bit far-fetched, but is it possible Doris Day had Dissociative Identity Disorder aka Multiple Personality Disorder? Hopefully we can get some thoughts from Professors Zarelli, Longo and some of the other excellent authentication minds on this forum.   

The photos above are Version 1, the version commonly believed to be be authentic.

The montage photo and vintage cards above are version 2. There are enough differences here beyond the capital "D"s that these could be considered two different versions. A lot of odd cross pollination between the versions.

The Good Housekeeping magazine cover above is version 3 

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Comment by Eric Keith Longo on March 28, 2024 at 5:36pm

"is it possible Doris Day had Dissociative Identity Disorder aka Multiple Personality Disorder?"

Hi Meggs,

That disorder affects 1% of people. Other explanations are much more likely. But I can not speak to the notion any more than that. 

Comment by Eric Keith Longo on March 28, 2024 at 5:40pm

Markus has a page about these you may not have seen:

Is it Real? Doris Day

Comment by meggs on March 28, 2024 at 6:29pm

I had seen that, thank you Eric.

What I find so odd is the non-linear way the consistent and non-consistent aspects of the signatures mix together.

For instance, compare the squiggle line underneath the signature of the Good Housekeeping mag and the montage photo. Those squiggles match up really well. But the capital "D"s are different as are the "y"s where one is a solid loop and one breaks. But compare the "ark" in the two "Mark"s, and that flows like done by the same hand. 

Now look at the way the "y" breaks on the color photo of Doris with the scarf on her head and compare it to the vintage card on the left. The way those two "y"s break, the curvature and the angle, matches up perfectly. But the capital "D"s are totally different.

Comment by Scott Paul on March 29, 2024 at 4:25pm

I seem to recall that Doris Day's earlier checks differed from her later ones.  I have one somewhere will try to look for it.

Comment by meggs on March 29, 2024 at 4:38pm

That would be wonderful, Scott! Financial documents for exemplars would really help

Comment by meggs on March 29, 2024 at 4:50pm

Now here are a couple examples of a 4th different capital "D" variety. Those big Ds are different, but other tells sure look to me like the same hand as the Version 1 assumed authentic variety 


Comment by Scott Paul on March 29, 2024 at 5:05pm

I bet History for Sale would have some documents.

Comment by meggs on March 29, 2024 at 6:19pm

OK Scott, I'm going to show my ignorance here. Am I correct in assuming History For Sale is a reputable seller? If so, they are selling the various versions of Doris signatures as authentic. 

Comment by Eric Keith Longo on March 29, 2024 at 6:29pm

They are a great seller, especially for documents, but they do sometimes have secretarials which they will pull. Most of my very best items come from History For Sale.

Comment by meggs on March 29, 2024 at 6:53pm

I can see why some think these are not all Doris since it would be HIGHLY unusual for anyone to use so many different autograph styles randomly as opposed to evolving over time.

If Ms. Day was a reclusive person  who enjoyed receiving fan mail, maybe she just amused herself by signing different ways depending on her mood. But I'm not a psychiatrist. Maybe it goes deeper than that.

Can't get over those "y"s. They sure look like all from the same hand.


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