Doris Day dies at 97

Doris Day, the honey-voiced singer and actress whose film dramas, musicals and innocent sex comedies made her a top star in the 1950s and '60s and among the most popular screen actresses in history, has died at age 97.

The Doris Day Animal Foundation confirmed Day died early Monday at her Carmel Valley, Calif., home. The foundation said she was surrounded by close friends.

 

"Day had been in excellent physical health for her age, until recently contracting a serious case of pneumonia, resulting in her death," the foundation said in an emailed statement.

 

The foundation also said she requested "no funeral or memorial service and no grave marker."

 

After she began her career as a big band singer in 1939, her popularity increased with her first hit recording "Sentimental Journey" (1945). After leaving Les Brown & His Band of Renown to embark on a solo career, she recorded more than 650 songs from 1947 to 1967, which made her one of the most popular and acclaimed singers of the 20th century.

 

Day's film career began during the latter part of the Classical Hollywood Film era with the 1948 film Romance on the High Seas, and its success sparked her twenty-year career as a motion picture actress. She starred in a series of successful films, including musicals, comedies, and dramas. She played the title role in Calamity Jane (1953).

 

Day was usually one of the top ten singers between 1951 and 1966. With her lilting contralto, wholesome blond beauty and glowing smile, she was a top box office draw and recording artist known for such films as Pillow Talk and That Touch of Mink, and songs including Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera) from the Alfred Hitchcock film The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) with James Stewart.

Her most successful films were the ones she made co-starring Rock Hudson and James Garner, such as Pillow Talk (1959) her first of three films with Rock Hudson, she proudly caught up with what she called "the contemporary in me." and Move Over, Darling (1963), respectively.

 

She also co-starred in films with such leading men as Clark Gable, Cary Grant, David Niven, and Rod Taylor. After her final film in 1968, she went on to star in the CBS sitcom The Doris Day Show (1968–1973).

 

As an actress, she became the biggest female film star in the early 1960s, and ranked sixth among the box office performers by 2012.

 

In 2011, she released her 29th studio album, My Heart, which became a UK Top 10 album featuring new material. Among her awards, Day has received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and a Legend Award from the Society of Singers.

 

In 1960, she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress, and in 1989 was given the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement in motion pictures.

 

 

Her 1976 tell-all book, Doris Day: Her Own Story, chronicled her money troubles and three failed marriages, contrasting with the happy publicity of her Hollywood career. "I have the unfortunate reputation of being Miss Goody Two-Shoes, America's Virgin, and all that, so I'm afraid it's going to shock some people for me to say this, but I staunchly believe no two people should get married until they have lived together," she wrote.

 

In 2004, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush followed in 2011 by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association's Career Achievement Award. She was one of the last surviving stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood.

 

In recent years, she spent much of her time advocating for animal rights.

 

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