Doris Day Carried the Child of the Man Who Threatened Her Life

With her bubbly personality, Doris Day was admired by the public and considered one of the most creative, most underrated, and least recognized actresses to ever come to Hollywood.

Despite her successful career, she was not successful in her private life. Her parents were divorced, and she had an accident as a teenager.

The accident forced her to abandon her dreams of being a dancer and go into acting. For two years, she was married to her first husband, and when she became pregnant, he threatened her life.

Portrait of Doris Day circa 1963 | Photo: Getty Images


Day, who died from pneumonia at 97, was not married when she died on May 13, 2019. However, she was married four times during her lifetime.

In 1941, she was married to Al Jorden, a trombonist, after they had dated for one year. Their marriage lasted for only two years as they were divorced by 1943.

Three years after her first divorce, Day joined another band was married to the band’s saxophonist, George Weidler. She was attracted by his gentleness and thought their love would last.

Portrait of Doris Day circa 1945 | Photo: Getty Images

Sadly, their union ended three years later, just after Day’s career had started to pick up. Weidler thought she had become too big of a star and their marriage would not work.

On April 3, 1951, Day gave love another chance when she married an American motion picture and music executive, Martin Melcher. Melcher adopted her son from her first marriage.

Doris Day and Martin Melcher pose for a snapshot after a quiet marriage ceremony at Burbank City Hall. | Photo: Getty Images

Unfortunately, Melcher died on April 20, 1968, at 52. After his death, she fell in love and married on April 14, 1976, to maître d’hôtel, Barry Comden.

Comden and Day’s marriage was over in 1981 after he felt that Day cared for her dogs more than she cared for him as she had once kicked him out of bed to make room for a poodle.

Doris Day with one of her dogs at a press conference in California on July 16, 1985 | Photo: Getty Images


Day’s only ambition was to be a housewife in a good marriage as a child. At the time, being a dancer or a singer was far from her list of professions.

At 16, she spent six nights a week at the club in Cincinnati where Barney Rapp and his band were singing. She had joined their band, and Rapp persuaded her to change her surname from “Kappelhoff” to Day.

Rapp had chosen the name “Day” after the “Day By Day” song. Even though she didn’t like the name, she did it. While with the band, the trombonist would always give her a lift.

Doris Day in a scene from “Calamity Jane” in 1953 | Photo: Getty Images

His name was Al Jorden, and even though he was tall and attractive, she felt that he was gloomy. However, Jorden was relaxed and amusing when he asked her out for dinner.

Jorden had seemed glamorous, and so she didn’t take note of the switch in his personality. He was 23 years old then, and they started going out every night.

With their closeness, she started noticing that he was jealous. He would get angry if he saw her speaking to another man, and she initially thought the jealousy was flattering.

Portrait of Doris Day circa 1949 | Photo: Getty Images

By the time she was 17, Jorden had proposed to her, and they got married in New York. Immediately they were married, she started seeing the dark sides of his personality.

By the second day of their marriage, his band manager gave Day a leather makeup case as her wedding present. This act made Jorden’s face turn white with jealousy.

As soon as they got home, he spun Day around and hit her in the face. She tried to protect herself, but he kept hitting her and cursing her repeatedly.

Portrait of Doris Day | Photo: Getty Images

Day fell to the floor in a hysterical mood, and a minute later, Jorden joined her on the floor sobbing while asking her to forgive him. He professed his love and admitted that he shouldn’t have hit her.

He revealed that he couldn’t stand the thought of anyone other than him looking at her. She believed his excuses and hoped the situation would never repeat itself.

However, that would not be the last time as what she called his psychotic jealousy would break out in endless incidents. He always said he couldn’t help himself.

Portrait of Doris Day circa 1960 | Photo: Getty Images


As things became worse, Day wanted to leave, but she became pregnant in the second month of their marriage. With the pregnancy, she had hoped he would no longer get jealous.

Unfortunately, that was not the case as things became horrendous for Day. One day, Jorden came back home and gave her the name of an abortionist because he felt they were too young to have kids.

She was appalled by his suggestion and vehemently refused. Jorden tried so many times to talk her out of the pregnancy, and at some point, she was too heartsick to resist.

Portrait of Doris Day circa 1965 in Los Angeles | Photo: Getty Images

When he realized that she wasn’t going to terminate the pregnancy, he made her swallow some pills he had got and put her feet in scalding water. The drugs made her sick, but nothing happened to her pregnancy.

After this happened, Day decided that she would try as much as possible to get through the pregnancy while staying with him. She planned to leave as soon as she had been delivered of the baby.

Throughout her pregnancy, Jorden tried to kill her several times. One of those occasions happened when they were driving on a winding mountain road.

Photo of Doris Day circa 1960 | Photo: Getty Images

Jorden began driving at 110mph while screaming that he would kill them both. Jorden threatened to shoot Day and the baby while pushing a pistol against her stomach on another occasion.

When Day was eight months pregnant, Jorden pulled her out of bed, dragged her around the room while knocking her against the wall. Her body was badly bruised, and the bruising cut one of her eyes.

With what she had experienced, Day was sure she would have a miscarriage. Fortunately, she didn’t, and in February 1942, she gave birth to their son, Terrence “Terry” Paul Jorden, before returning to her mother in Cincinnati.

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