Doris Day

Doris Day was an actress and singer who was most famous in the 1950s and 1960s. From 1968-1973, she starred on a sitcom called “The Doris Day Show”. Doris Day was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on April 3, 1922. Before becoming an independent singer in 1947, she sang with many big bands. She made several popular films musicals in the 1950s, including Calamity Jane (1953), and The Pajama Game (57). Day was a strong advocate for animal welfare, and she founded many organizations dedicated to this cause. Doris Day, a top Hollywood star in the 1950s and 1960s was most well-known for her roles in films like The Pajama Game (1957), Pillow Talk (599) and That Touch of Mink (622). After being injured in a car accident, Day became a singer after she started her career as a dancer. Born Doris von Kappelhoff, Day studied ballet and tap dance growing up. In her teens, Day won a local contest for dance with Jerry Doherty. Her dreams of becoming a professional dancer were crushed when her leg was injured in a car accident in 1937. Day, the daughter of a music teacher started voice lessons during her recovery. As she began to develop her own voice style, Ella Fitzgerald was one her first inspirations. Day was first to sing on local radio stations. Barney Rapp, her bandleader, encouraged Day to sing with his group. Rapp encouraged Day to change her name to Day, which she did after hearing the song “Day After Day.” Day was offered a position as a singer with Bob Crosby’s band in 1940. He was the brother of Bing Crosby, a successful musician and bandleader. Later that year, Day teamed up again with Les Brown and his band. Day’s first number-one hits were “Sentimental Journey” in 1944 with Brown. Brown’s work made Day a huge singing star during World War II. Day’s songs seemed accessible and relatable to her audience. She quickly made the move from the concert stage to the big screens after she split with Brown in 1946. Day was able to find time for solo music projects even during her acting career. In 1948, Day scored another hit with “Love Somebody”, a duet she did with Buddy Clark. Day’s 1950s hits included “My Love and Devotion” (1952), and “Let’s Walk That-A-Way (1953). These songs were among her many movie-soundtrack hits. Her last film-based hit was “Everybody Loves a Lover” in 1958. Day made her film debut with the musical Romance on the High Seas in 1948. Day was hired to replace Betty Hutton who had to quit the project. Day recorded “It’s Magic” for the film. This was another success for the young actress. Day was a great performer in dramatic roles. In Young Man with a Horn (1950), she played a singer who was involved with a troubled musician (Kirk Douglas). Day also played the role of a woman who was married to an abusive Ku Klux Klan member that year in Storm Warning. She later portrayed Ruth Etting, a fictionalized jazz singer, in Love Me or Leave Me (1955), with James Cagney. Her greatest hits were two from films she made in mid-1950s. In the musical western Calamity Jane (1953), she sang “Secret Love”, in which she was a cowgirl. She appeared with Alfred Hitchcock in The Man Who Knew too Much, a thriller starring Jimmy Stewart. Day sang “Que Sera, Sera”, for the film. The song was a signature tune of Day and it became the theme song for her later TV series, The Doris Day Show. Day’s 1957 film adaptation of The Pajama Game was another hit. With the 1959 hit Pillow Talk, Day continued exploring lighter comedy with Rock Hudson as her first on-screen partner. Day received her only Academy Award nomination for the film. Hudson was her partner in several films, including Send Me No Flowers (1962). Day also appeared in The Thrill of It All (1963), and That Touch of Mink (1962) with James Garner. These films made Day one of the most beloved film stars of her era. Day’s charming and sweet persona was out of fashion by the end of 1960s. Day starred in films such as The Ballad of Josie (1967), a comedy about a humorous Western, and With Six You Get Eggroll (1973). Her results were not great. Day did better on television with The Doris Day Show which ran from 1968 through 1973. She played the role of a widow who takes her two sons with her to the country. Day announced in 1975 that she would be retiring from acting. Day has spent much of her life working to improve animal welfare. Day was one of the founders of Actors and Others for Animals. She joined other celebrities who wanted to raise awareness about animal cruelty. Day also fostered and rescued many animals at her home, which led to her founding the non-profit rescue group the Doris Day Pet Foundation. In 1987, she founded the Doris Day Animal League, a citizens’ lobbying group that was a national non-profit citizen organization. This was to complement the Doris Day Pet Foundation. The Doris Day Animal League was merged with the Humane Society of the United States in 2007. Meanwhile, the Doris Day Pet Foundation grew from a grassroots rescue group to the Doris Day Animal Foundation. This grant-giving non profit funds other organizations that share its mission of “helping pets and the people who love them.” Day made a brief return in the mid-1980s to television for a program about pets called Doris Day’s Best Friends. Day was one of the most popular box-office stars of all times, but she didn’t get much criticism for her work until after her retirement. Her accolades include three Grammy Hall of Fame Awards in 1998 1999, 2012 and a Golden Globe Lifetime Achievement Award for 1989. In 2004, she was also awarded a star on Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2004, President George W. Bush presented Day with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He said that Day “captured the hearts of Americans and enriched our culture.” The actress released My Heart in U.K. in 2011, her first album in more than two decades. Day was crowned the oldest artist to have a top 10 album of new material on the U.K charts. Day received much praise for the project and it did well commercially. On May 13, 2019, Day, an actress, died at her Carmel Valley home.

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