Doris Day, Hollywood’s Girl Next Door, Dies At 97

Actress and singer Doris Day died of pneumonia on Monday at the age of 97

Born Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff in Cincinnati, Ohio, Doris Day was known for a string of successful musicals and romantic comedies, including Pillow Talk.

Day remains one of the most successful female movie stars of all time. She embodied the “girl next door” even in her 40s, which is probably why her films with Rock Hudson were so successful. A scene from 1959’s Pillow Talk shows a split screen with Day and Hudson in their separate bathtubs, only it looks like they’re in the same one.

Day plays chorus girl Ethel "Dynamite" Jackson in 1952's April in Paris.

Day plays chorus girl Ethel “Dynamite” Jackson in 1952’s April in Paris.

Day arrives with husband Marty Melcher for the 1960 Academy Awards ceremony.
Day arrives with husband Marty Melcher for the 1960 Academy Awards ceremony. She was nominated in the best actress category that year for her role in Pillow Talk.

success, but her career began as a big band “girl singer,” and with Les Brown’s big band she had one of the biggest hits of World War II: Doris Day represented the kind of girl you’d want to fight for and come home to.

Her film career started with a role in the 1948 musical comedy Romance on the High Seas, Day proved a hit with audiences, specialising in musical comedy roles, including My Dream is Yours, Tea for Two and I’ll See You in My Dreams. In 1953, she took on the title role of the hit film Calamity Jane, a major hit which later turned into both a stage musical and a TV show.

“She’s was a woman who was an extremely sensual woman,” he said. “She had affairs with a number of people. She was never happily married. She had a son but was never really a mother; he was more like a brother to her.

Day’s husband and manager, Martin Melcher, died suddenly in 1968. But before that, he lost her entire fortune and signed her to a television series without her knowledge. Day slogged through the five seasons of The Doris Day Show and then left Hollywood. And after a very long legal battle, she eventually won back some of her money.




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