Doris Day, the legendary actress and singer of the 1950s and 60s, died Monday (May 13) at the age of 97, The Associated Press reports.
The Doris Day Animal Foundation confirmed that Day died at her home in Carmel Valley, California, surrounded by close friends. The Hollywood icon was previously in good health, but recently contracted a serious case of pneumonia.
Doris Day starred in an array of films, was one of the most popular and highest paid singers in America by 1950, and was a strong animal rights activist.
In 1945, she scored her first hit in music, "Sentimental Journey,” with bandleader Les Brown. She followed up that success with hits like “My Dreams Are Getting Better All the Time” and “Till the End of Time.” Even as her film career began, Day had continued success in music, releasing songs like “Love Somebody” with Buddy Clark, “A Guy Is a Guy,” and “Secret Love.”
In 1947, Day sang at a Hollywood party which launched her film career. Over the course of her career, Day starred in many films, including the 1951 musical I’ll See You in My Dreams, the 1953 Western Calamity Jane, the 1955 Ruth Etting biopic, Love Me or Leave Me, Alfred Hitchcock’s 1956 film, The Man Who Knew Too Much, and 1959’s Pillow Talk.
After about two decades in film, Day went from film to TV with The Doris Day Show, which ran for five seasons from 1968 to 1973. Throughout the 70s and 80s, she made a variety of guest appearances on TV shows, ranging from The Merv Griffin Show to The Tonight Show. After being off the air for more than a decade, Day launched a new series around her love for animals entitled Doris Day’s Best Friends, which ran for 26 episodes from 1985 to 1986.
Following 1986, Day devoted most of her life to advocating for animal rights through the Doris Day Animal Foundation.
Throughout her career, Day was the recipient of several major accolades, including the 1989 Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement in motion pictures, the 2009 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and the 2004 Presidential Medal of Freedom, which was awarded by President George W. Bush.
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Article image: Doris Day in 1957. (Unknown photographer [Available through Public Domain] via Wikimedia Commons.)