Doris Day, Legendary Actress and Singer, Dies at 97

Toby Graves
May 15, 2019

Doris Day passed away this morning at her home in Carmel, Calif., at the age of 97.

Incredibly, in 2017, the AP obtained a copy of her birth certificate that showed Day was really born April 3, 1922 - making her 95, two years older than she thought she was.

In more recent years, Day turned her attention to animal welfare, founding the Doris Day Animal Foundation in 1978. Right down to her cheerful, alliterative stage name, she stood for the era's ideal of innocence and G-rated love, a parallel world to her contemporary Marilyn Monroe.

But she found her greatest success in slick, stylish sex comedies, beginning with her Oscar-nominated role in Pillow Talk.

'My public image is unshakably that of America's wholesome virgin, the girl next door, carefree and brimming with happiness.

While in recovery, she spent many hours singing along to the radio and it was then that she discovered her incredible musical talent.

She was the blonde beauty who wowed audiences with her sunny onscreen presence and her smooth voice.

At 17, Day married Al Jorden, a trombone player who she later claimed beat her. She and Hudson played two New Yorkers who shared a telephone party line. Her second marriage also was short-lived. The same year, she received a lifetime achievement honor from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. Her fourth, restaurateur Barry Comden, complained to the press that she kicked him out of bed for her pets. She married four times, divorced three times and widowed once, suffered a nervous breakdown and had severe financial trouble after one husband squandered her money. Though she initially wanted to become a dancer, she had to abandon the dream after an accident, according to BBC. During a long convalescence, she immersed herself in the big-band sounds of Tommy Dorsey and the vocals of Ella Fitzgerald.

Hollywood took to social media to mourn the death of icon Doris Day on Monday.

'But I never did like it.

Day "drifted away" from organized religion after Melcher died in 1968, Bashara says, but remained "a spiritual person".

She went on to work with bandleaders Jimmy James and Bob Crosby, but it was while working for Les Brown in 1945 that she released her first hit, "Sentimental Journey" - a popular anthem during World War II for troops returning home.

She never won an Academy Award, but Day was given a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004.

"Romance on the High Seas" had been designed for Judy Garland, then Betty Hutton. Her early peak came in the 1953 Western musical 'Calamity Jane'. Her most famous movies include the Alfred Hitchcock thriller The Man Who Knew Too Much (opposite Jimmy Stewart) and Love Me or Leave Me with James Cagney.

"Live it, and have fun, enjoy each day".

As Day's longtime friend and costar in With Six You Get Egg Roll (1968), actress Jackie Joseph, tells PEOPLE, "She had worked since she was a teenager".

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