Daisy Mae Duke is a fictional character, played by Catherine Bach, from the American television series The Dukes of Hazzard. She was the cousin of Bo and Luke, the main protagonists of the show, who were also cousins, and the three lived on a farm on the outskirts of Hazzard County with their Uncle Jesse.
Although never mentioned in the series itself, some press material for the show suggests that Daisy's parents, along with Bo and Luke's, were killed in a car accident. However, in the 1997 reunion movie, Daisy says her mother died when she was born.
Daisy would frequently become involved in the Dukes' car chases, using her Plymouth Road Runner or later, more famously, her Jeep. Daisy also worked as a waitress at the Boar's Nest, the local bar owned by Boss Hogg that was the main meeting place in Hazzard. She also aspired to be both a singer, and a journalist, at various times.
Daisy is referenced several times in popular culture, maybe most recently by her jean shorts in Katy Perry's hit song California Gurls.
Despite her appearance as a naive (and provocatively dressed) Southern belle, Daisy was a very outgoing person who could more than hold her own when the chips were down. For instance, during one adventure with a stolen armored personnel carrier, Daisy is able to accurately fire its main gun while the vehicle is in motion with barely any instruction from her Vietnam War veteran cousin and Uncle Jesse cheerfully decorates her as "Sharpshooter of the Week" for the feat. In addition to fending off intoxicated would-be suitors at The Boar's Nest, she frequently found herself caught up in the ongoing war between Boss Hogg and her family, the Duke clan. Her job at Boss's restaurant gave her the opportunity to eavesdrop on private conversations between Boss and his stooges (usually Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane), often discovering important information that she could pass on to Uncle Jesse and the Duke boys. Her continued employment at the Boars' Nest in spite of her obvious loyalty to her family was a sign of her status and popularity in Hazzard County, and a corresponding lack of intelligence on Boss Hogg's part. Boss did in fact fire her on a few occasions, but by various story twists, always ended up re-hiring her by the end of the episode.
Daisy never found a long-lasting beau of her own over the course of the series. In the reunion movie, she is said to have left Hazzard to get married, but was subsequently divorced. After her marriage ended, she was pursuing a graduate degree at Duke University, and upon her return to Hazzard agreed to marry Enos Strate, who long had a crush on her, but backed out at the last minute due to both the sudden reappearance of her ex-husband, and for fear of another debacle like her first marriage.
Daisy's first car in the series was a yellow 1974 Plymouth Road Runner with a black stripe along the sides and over the roof. Although the car was intended to be a Plymouth Road Runner, later appearances in the second season used a 1971 Plymouth Satellite with a matching "Road Runner" stripe painted behind the rear window. The car met its demise when the accelerator stuck while Bo and Luke were driving it in the second season episode "The Runaway", sending it over a cliff. Due to the episodes being broadcast in a considerably different order to that of which they were filmed, the Plymouth made several returns after it was supposedly destroyed. (After the Plymouth had been destroyed on-screen, several models of the car appeared in various episodes with different paint jobs, serving as other vehicles within the context of the stories).
After losing that car, she received her trademark white 1980 Jeep CJ-7 "Golden Eagle" named (The) Dixie at the end of "The Runaway". The initial version of the Jeep seen at the end of this episode was noticeably different to what would become the normal version, with a slightly different paint job, doors with "Dixie" painted on, and "Golden Eagle" printed by on the hood on either side of an Eagle emblem. After this first appearance, the design changed to have a lighter paint job, no doors, and "Dixie" painted alongside the emblem on the hood. However, as with other vehicles in the show, there were different versions of the Jeep used for filming of various episodes. Sometimes the Jeep would have a slightly different paint scheme, and it would alternate between automatic and manual transmissions. The design of the roll-bars also varied across the seasons.
On a number of occasions, Daisy also drove Uncle Jesse's pick-up truck. Certain storylines occasionally called for her to drive the General Lee.
As a sex symbol
Daisy Duke was both the main female protagonist and the sex symbol on Dukes of Hazzard. In two episodes Daisy wore a red bikini to distract Cletus and a truck driver. She appeared numerous times wearing tight and short jean shorts, which later became colloquially known as "Daisy Dukes".
The network censors believed that Daisy's famous cut-off shorts alone would be too revealing. The shorts were so short, that the only way the producers could get them on air was for Catherine Bach to wear flesh-colored pantyhose with them, to ensure that the shorts didn't reveal more of her than intended. Bach herself had concerns about the shorts saying she couldn't wear them in the restaurant scene. The producers' answer was for her to visit the restaurant across the street; there Bach found the waitresses were wearing "little miniskirts that matched the tablecloths!". Bach made many of Daisy's costumes herself, especially the early ones, including the red bikini in the first episode, seen during the show's opening credits.
Bach posed for a poster as Daisy Duke at the suggestion of the show's producers, which sold 5 million copies. The poster once caused a stir when Bach visited the White House to visit one of her former school teachers who was then working there.
In the 2005 feature film The Dukes of Hazzard, Daisy Duke was portrayed by Jessica Simpson. Film critics panned Simpson's performance, claiming that her portrayal had little in common with the character Catherine Bach created, and that she was merely cast because of her celebrity status.
Daisy's costume was slightly modified for the film to make her more overtly sexual: her Daisy Dukes were shorter than they had been on the series, and her shirts showed much more cleavage than Bach's ever had. She also didn't wear pantyhose under her shorts, going bare legged in the film. A controversial difference in her appearance was that Simpson's hair remained blonde, whereas Bach's was brunette. Simpson did, however, wear a brunette wig as a disguise during the film.
In the 2007 film, The Dukes of Hazzard: The Beginning, Daisy starts out as an innocent Bible school girl and does not dress particularly attractively. She wears large flannel shirts, jeans, big glasses, and wears her hair in a bun. To get a job as a waitress at the Boar's Nest and to attract Hughie Hogg (Boss's nephew), she decides to change her look. She goes through several outfits before finally settling on her signature look. She is also a brunette in this movie. Daisy is played by April Scott.