Doris Day Dies: 'Pillow Talk' Star, Singer Dead at 97

Doris Day

Day, who co-starred with 1950s and '60s superstars such as Rock Hudson and Cary Grant, died at her Carmel, California home after a bout with pneumonia, the Doris Day Animal Foundation said on its website. She also played against type with turns in noir films like Storm Warning, the domestic abuse thriller Julie, Alfred Hitchcock's famous thriller The Man Who Knew Too Much also allowed her to break the usual typecast role she found herself in. She had her first hit recording, "Sentimental Journey", with the group, in 1944.

The statement added: "She was surrounded by a few close friends as she passed".

Her death was announced by her animal charity on Monday. Her movies may come from another time - and even then more of a confection than a reflection - but utterly charming. This was the age when musicals transported you into a dreamworld of momentary escape and Doris Day was the wizard of the genre.

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She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004, and the Grammys gifted her a Lifetime Achievement prize in 2008. Her gift for song translated onto the big screen, as she performed Academy Award-winning songs "Secret Love" in 1953 and "Que Será, Será" in 1956.

In her later years, Day was a committed activist for animal rights, founding what would become the Doris Day Animal Foundation in 1978.

A great comedic talent, Day particularly shone in films that showcased her humour and singing.

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An emblem of 50's glamour and pre-Swinging Sixties innocence, Doris Day's perfectly coiffed hair and radiant smile charmed the hearts of millions in her decades-long career. She requested that no memorial services be held and no grave marker erected. Day had two stints singing with Les Brown and his big-band musical group, The Band of Renown. A bandleader changed her name to Day after the song "Day after Day" to fit it on a marquee.

As the 1960s became more filled with experimental and alternative filmmaking styles, Doris Day's star began to dim. After a near-fatal auto crash that ended her hopes for a career as a dancer, she made the switch to singing.

Doris Day outlived her only child, record producer Terry Melcher, who died of melanoma in 2004 at the age of 62. It was Melcher's former house that the Manson family visited and murdered Sharon Tate and her friends in.

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