As reported by the Associated Press, actress and singer Doris Day—who headlined no shortage of soul-warming films and musicals in the ‘50s and ‘60s—has died. She was 97.
Day’s death was confirmed by the Doris Day Animal Foundation, who revealed that the actress died from pneumonia at her Carmel Valley, California home. “Day had been in excellent physical health for her age, until recently contracting a serious case of pneumonia, resulting in her death,” the foundation said in a statement. They add that she was surrounded by close friends at the time of her passing.
Day, born Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff, began her career as a big band singer, striking it big in 1945 with the hit song “Sentimental Journey.” She landed at Warner Bros. shortly thereafter, and found international stardom with films like 1955's Love Me or Leave Me and Alfred Hitchcock’s 1956 thriller The Man Who Knew Too Much, which she starred in alongside Jimmy Stewart. She shared top billing with other luminaries of the era, including Clark Gable, Tony Randall, James Garner, James Cagney, and Rock Hudson, the latter of whom she starred with in 1959's sweet sex comedy Pillow Talk, which scored her an Oscar nomination.
Movies like Pillow Talk were Day’s bread and butter, couching her G-rated appeal in charming, suggestive comedies that found a wholesome approach to themes of sex and intimacy. As the sexual revolution of the ‘60s reared its head, however, Day’s star waned. In her 1976 biography, Doris Day: Her Own Story, she reflected on “the unfortunate reputation of being Miss Goody Two-Shoes, America’s Virgin, and all that.” Her last film was 1968's With Six You Get Eggroll, but she continued with her CBS show, The Doris Day Show, until 1973.
In 2004, Day was awarded a Presidential Medal Of Freedom by President George W. Bush and, in 2011, she released My Heart, a compilation of previously unreleased songs recorded by her son, Terry Melcher. The majority of her time, however, went into animal rights advocacy with the Doris Day Animal Foundation.