Hollywood legend Doris Day has died at the age of 97

Brenda Watkins
May 13, 2019

TMZ reports Day died at her Carmel Valley, CA home, surrounded by close friends.

Day's Foundation attributed the death to pneumonia, noting the star had been in excellent health until the recent illness.

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. In that film, she sang "Que Será, Será", which became one of her signature songs - and which was used as the theme for her TV series The Doris Day Show, which ran from 1968 to 1973.

Day was one of the hottest entertainers in Hollywood, with her heyday spanning the 1940s to the 1960s.

Or as one-time co-star Oscar Levant famously joked, "I knew Doris Day before she was a virgin". She worked for Alfred Hitchcock in 1956 thriller The Man Who Knew Too Much, playing the lead opposite James Stewart.

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She recently celebrated her 97th birthday on 3 April.

Day herself was no Doris Day, by choice and by hard luck.

According to the BBC, Doris was a singer turned actress and enjoyed success in films like Calamity Jane and Pillow Talk. 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". I want to smile and I want to make people laugh. She had her only son, Terrence Paul Jorden, with her first husband, Al Jorden.

In a review of her last film, 1968's "With Six You Get Eggroll", Vincent Canby summed up the critical attitude toward Day then, noting that there were "some hints of the very real comic talent that has, over the years, become hermetically sealed inside a lacquered personality, like a butterfly in a Mason jar". She gave birth to her son, Terry, in early 1942. But she resisted Hollywood overtures. Although mostly retired from show business since the 1980s, she still had enough of a following that a 2011 collection of previously unreleased songs, "My Heart", hit the top 10 in the United Kingdom.

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