Published: Mon, May 13, 2019
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

Legendary American actress and singer Doris Day dies aged 97

Legendary American actress and singer Doris Day dies aged 97

In a statement, the Doris Day Animal Foundation said she died on Monday at her home in Carmel Valley, California.

Despite her vast popularity - by the early '60s, she was the No. 1 box-office star on the planet - Day was often greatly underrated, and, blaming her fear of flying, turned down several awards and accolades, including (it was discussed) an honorary Oscar and the Kennedy Center Honor.

She first found acclaim for her lilting singing voice which brought her a string of hits on records before her screen presence cemented her place in the history of Hollywood.

But over time, she became more than a name above the title: Right down to her cheerful, alliterative stage name, she stood for a time of innocence and G-rated love, a parallel world to her contemporary Marilyn Monroe.

Doris Day, an actress and singer whose career and activism endured from the 1930s, has died, according to multiple sources.

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In all, according to her Foundation, Day made 39 films.

Her 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.

Doris Day, in a 1957 publicity photo.

"Pillow Talk" and "Lover Come Back" opposite Rock Hudson and "That Touch of Mink" with Cary Grant cemented her goody-two-shoes reputation, if sometimes unfairly: The films were about Day, usually cast as an independent working woman, resisting her leading man's charms because she'd been deceived more than to protect her virginity. After appearances with the Big Bands of Barney Rapp and Bob Crosby, she joined Les Brown's Band and had her first hit with "Sentimental Journey". Married and divorced four times, Day had one son, record producer Terry Melcher, who died in 2004. "I love to laugh", said the star who made so many others laugh and sing. Her last feature film was 1968's With Six You Get Eggroll, but the following year she received a Golden Globe nomination for her eponymous sitcom, which ran from 1968-73. Her husband's reliance on attorney Jerome Rosenthal for business advice proved disastrous: The lawyer went through Day's millions with bad investments in oil wells, cattle and hotels. One prize she never lost: the unbridled love of an adoring public. Her son Terry was the initial target of the Manson Family murders, which ended in the grisly killing of actress Sharon Tate. That song and "Que Sera Sera" would be her biggest hits.

Going solo in 1947, she successfully auditioned for Warner Bros. the following year and was cast in the studio's attempts to rival the romantic musicals that were the specialty of rival MGM.

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