The singer, actress and dancer had her first No. 1 hit in 1945 and became one of Hollywood’s leading box-office attractions during the 1950s and 60s.
She was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1922. As a young singer, she had her first hit song Sentimental Journey at age 15. This song, along with Que Sera Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be), were some of her most successful hits. Day’s singing career consisted of 29 studio albums, her latest release being in 2011.
Day was often paired in major romantic comedies and musicals with the leading men of the day, skyrocketing her to fame in the latter end of the classical Hollywood Era. Some of her most celebrated roles include Calamity Jane (1953), Love Me or Leave Me (1955), Alfred Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) and Pillow Talk (1959).
After her film career, she starred in her own sitcom The Doris Day Show.
Day was honoured with many awards during her lifetime, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004 and a Grammy for Lifetime Achievement in 2008. Despite her three decades of leading work in film, she received only one Oscar nomination for starring as a career woman who falls for Rock Hudson in Pillow Talk (1959). Many film critics have criticized the Academy’s overlooking of her talents.
Day had a lifelong passion for helping animals and set up the Doris Day Animal Foundation in the 70s. As an animal welfare advocate, she spent much of her life fighting against animal testing and advocating for spay/neuter education programs.
— ABC News (@ABC) May 13, 2019
The one, the only, the woman who inspired so much of what I do… Doris Day I love you, my calamity Jane. An iconic woman who I was hugely honoured to meet and share precious moments with. Rest in peace x pic.twitter.com/brkli7fKYE
— Stella McCartney (@StellaMcCartney) May 13, 2019
Her passing was confirmed online by the Doris Day Animal Foundation. The Foundation said she had been in good health until recently, when she suffered from a bout of pneumonia.