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Swan Songs for Doris Day and William Talman in The Ballad of Josie

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A cheerful movie with indomitable spirit, you’d never guess that The Ballad of Josie represented bittersweet endings to the film careers Doris Day and William Talman.

As tastes changed in the 1960s, Hollywood icon Day would no doubt have preferred to exit the screen on a graceful note. But at the insistence of her manager and husband, Martin Melcher, she found herself in more and more improbable cinematic territory; unbeknownst to Day, money from the roles was needed to cover Melcher’s misappropriation of her entire fortune. Josie is the first of these roles, representing a shift in a beloved star’s public and private identity that is all the more visible in the film 40 years later.

William Talman, who for years played district attorney Hamilton Burger on Perry Mason, ended his career on an appropriate note in The Ballad of Josie, as the D.A. in a Western town where spunky shepherdess Doris Day
has decided to buck the system. Talman had been grappling with lung
cancer, and while Josie was his final movie performance, he filmed an anti-smoking PSA that was to run shortly after his death.

Seeing
these two stars on the brink of their respective declines adds an
interesting poignancy to the slapsticky comedic performances. See for
yourself when The Ballad of Josie airs on Saturday, Apr. 19 at 1:15PM | 12:15C. For a complete schedule of this movie, click here.


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