Creative La Jolla author turns 100: Doris Sutton

Doris Sutton turned 100 on March 25, 2020.

LA JOLLA CENTENARIANS: This occasional La Jolla Light series features interviews with local centenarians. If you know a La Jollan who is 100 years old, please call (858) 875-5950 or e-mail

After living a bicoastal life in which she found success as a model, teacher and author, Doris Sutton celebrates her 100th birthday this week in La Jolla with her daughters and friends, marking a century of creativity and imagination.

Born in New Jersey on March 25, 1920 and raised in Manhattan, where she married Paul Sutton on Thanksgiving Day 1946, Doris found success as a Harry Conover model and poetry editor while raising her daughters, Pamela and Valerie. She later developed and taught self-improvement classes throughout New York in the 1950s until Paul’s job as a director at Ford Aerospace took the family across the country to Newport Beach, California.

While on the West Coast, Doris completed a bachelor’s degree at UC Riverside and then a master’s in drama from Cal State Fullerton and enjoyed a decade of acting experience in short films and live plays. Her artistic expression didn’t end there, however, as Doris also wrote poetry prolifically for decades.

A photo of Sutton from the 1940s.

After Paul’s retirement, the couple returned to the East Coast, residing in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, where they helped Pamela raise her twin sons for 10 years. Paul’s love for California had them moving back in 1996, when they settled in La Jolla, living with Valerie and traveling the world with Paul for many years.

A stroke that left Doris paralyzed on her right side since 2011 did nothing to hamper her artistic spark. Dictating fictional stories one by one, she published three novels from 2013 to 2017, the last one at age 97. Her poetry was also published in four different books, the final one making it to print in 2018.

Following Paul’s passing a year ago, Doris remains in her residence with Valerie and caregivers, enjoying visits from her two grandsons and four great-grandchildren. Her 100th birthday will be jubilantly marked with a party at her home. Doris will be surrounded by both daughters and many friends, all eager to celebrate a century of remarkable artistic achievement.