When Doris Day died at age 97 in May, there was no funeral.
She was buried in an unmarked grave. She didn't want any fanfare.
Melinda Schneider, who will perform A Farewell To Doris at Wests in New Lambton this month, has researched the life of the iconic actress, singer and animal welfare activist.
"She was very much about preserving her image," Melinda said.
"She didn't do a lot of publicity later in her life. I think she felt a responsibility to her fans to maintain that beauty and how she was in her prime."
Que Sera Sera
Doris Day was best known for her roles in Calamity Jane, Pillow Talk and The Man Who Knew Too Much and for the songs Sentimental Journey and Que Sera Sera.
Melinda closes her show with Que Sera Sera.
"Que Sera is a song that Doris didn't actually like," she said.
"She thought it was too simple, childlike and sounded like a nursery rhyme. It's pretty funny - it was a song that connected with a lot of people. It ended up being her biggest hit. Simple songs often are."
As for Melinda, she likes singing the song.
"It's a great way to close the show in a happy, uplifting way. Everyone knows the words and sings along," she said.
Girl Next Door
Melinda was drawn to Doris at age eight, while watching the movie Calamity Jane.
"It still stands up today as a great film. I love the character she played - a rootin'-tootin', whip-crackin', sharp-shootin' tomboy.
"It had everything. It was a western, it had comedy, dancing, great songs.
"She even had a makeover at the very end where they turned her into a blushing bride."
Melinda said the era in which the star lived was "not great for women's liberation".
"On the surface it was pretty, the dresses were gorgeous, it was feminine and simpler and more innocent in a lot of ways," Melinda said.
"People had their roles defined, although I think there was probably a lot of unrest for a lot of women back then."
Despite her beautiful smile and girl-next-door image, Doris had "a lot of pain and sadness".
She found solace in animals and ran the Doris Day Animal Foundation.
As well as performing Doris songs, Melinda is known for being a country singer and winning a bagful of Golden Guitar awards.
"It's been a big part of my life for nine years," she said, of performing Doris shows.
When she first performed Doris songs, she'd just emerged from a 10-year marriage.
"I was emotionally exhausted from that personal stuff, but also writing original albums every two years and touring.
"Country songs are often about your own life, so I think I needed a break from focusing on myself.
"I was happy to focus on someone else's life for a little while."
She's now happily married to Mark Gable, the Choirboys singer. They have a 7-year-old boy.
Just like Doris, Melinda is a dog lover.
During her show, she serenades a dog on stage.
"That's a beautiful part of the show where a very special dog comes on. I sing the song that I wrote for my dogs called Your Eyes Could Never Lie.
"All the dog lovers shed a tear."
She's inviting dogs of all breeds to "pawdition" for a starring role in the Newcastle show.
The dogs must be obedient, professional, take direction well and be able to smile at the audience. No previous stage experience is necessary, but the dog must have an ability to walk on stage, jump up on a chair and be sung to.
Send a picture of your dog and describe in 25 words or less why he/she is perfect for the part. Email firstname.lastname@example.org by September 15.
Melinda will personally choose the dog to accompany her on stage.
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