Legendary actress and singer Doris Day died on Monday, May 13. She was 97.
The Doris Day Animal Foundation confirmed in a statement to Us Weekly that Day “had been in excellent physical health for her age, until recently contracting a serious case of pneumonia, resulting in her death.” She died in the early hours at her home in Carmel Valley, California, surrounded by “a few close friends.”
Day (born Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff) was one of the most famous actresses in the 1950s and ‘60s, appearing in films including Teacher’s Pet (1958), Pillow Talk (1959) and That Touch of Mink (1962). She was also known for her contralto singing voice, which she famously showcased in “Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)” from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1956 movie The Man Who Knew Too Much.
From a young age, Day wanted to become a dancer. However, she was hit by a train and suffered a broken leg at the age of 12. She started listening to music during her recovery and eventually scored a gig singing on a Cincinnati radio station before moving to New York.
Day made her feature film debut in Romance on the High Seas (1948) and last appeared in With Six You Get Eggroll (1968). She made the move to TV in 1968 with The Doris Day Show, which aired until 1973.
Day received a magnitude of honorary awards in the later years of her career, including the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award in 1989, the Presidential Medal of Freedom from George W. Bush in 2004 and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. She never won an Oscar, but was nominated for best actress in 1960 for her role as Jan Morrow in Pillow Talk.
In addition to her Hollywood career, Day spent much of her time advocating for animal welfare. “Doris’ wishes were that she have no funeral or memorial service and no grave marker,” the Doris Day Animal Foundation, which the actress founded in 1978, said in Monday’s statement. “Friends and fans wishing to remember Doris Day, are encouraged to visit www.dorisdayanimalfoundation.org.”
Day was married four times: to Al Jorden from 1941 to 1943, George Weidler from 1946 to 1949, Martin Melcher from 1951 until his death in 1968 and Barry Comden from 1976 to 1981. She and Melcher shared son Terry Melcher, a famed music producer who died at age 62 in November 2004.
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