Doris Day, last of Hollywood's golden stars, dies at 97

Updated: May 13, 2019, 20:30 IST | PTI |

A popular singer-actor of her era, Doris Day ruled the industry in the 1950s and '60s with films such as "Pillow Talk", "That Touch of Mink" and "The Man Who Knew Too Much

Doris Day (Pic/AFP)
Doris Day (Pic/AFP)

Screen icon Doris Day, last of the stars to represent the golden era of Hollywood and the velvety voice behind the classic "Que Sera Sera (whatever will be, will be), has died. She was 97.

A popular singer-actor of her era, Day ruled the industry in the 1950s and '60s with films such as "Pillow Talk", "That Touch of Mink" and "The Man Who Knew Too Much". She breathed her last on Monday at her Carmel Valley home in California, her animal welfare foundation, Doris Day Animal Foundation, said in a statement posted on their official website.

"Day had been in excellent physical health for her age, until recently contracting a serious case of pneumonia, resulting in her death. She was surrounded by a few close friends as she passed," the statement read.

The foundation said the star had celebrated her 97th birthday on April 3 this year. Hollywood celebrities such as "Star Trek" alums William Shatner, George Takei, author Paulo Coelho and actor Antonio Banderas took to Twitter to pay tributes to Day.

Calling the singer-actor "World's Sweetheart", Shatner said she was loved by all and her death is an irreparable loss to cinema. Like his "Star Trek" co-star, Takei quoted "Que Sera Sera" and said the screen legend will be missed dearly.

"For those of us in my generation, Doris Day was synonymous with Hollywood icon. She would no doubt remind us, upon this day of her passing, 'Que sera sera,' but we will miss her dearly anyway. Rest now in our hearts forever, Ms Day," he wrote on the microblogging site.

Coelho shared few lines from Day's song "Secret Love" (1953) and said, "I will miss you Doris Day, my first secret love." Banderas condoled her death and paid gratitude to her for her talent.

"Thank you for your talent. R.I.P. #DorisDay," the actor wrote.

Actor Luke Evans bid an emotional adieu to Day, saying "There was only one of you! I have always loved your voice and the beautiful songs you made eternal. RIP."

Seth MacFarlane said Hollywood lost another talent in Day.

Take a minute to appreciate the legendary Doris Day," he added.

Born as Mary Ann Von Kappelhoff, on April 3, 1922, in Cincinnati, Ohio, Day began her professional career as a singer at the age of 15 and tasted success in her early 20s with the song "Sentimental Journey", in collaboration with Les Brown's band.
But her signature song will always be "Que Sera Sera" from Alfred Hitchcock's 1956 film "The Man Who Knew Too Much".

She made her acting debut with the 1948 film "Romance on the High Seas", whose success led to a more than a two-decade-long career, spread over 39 films across genres as diverse as musicals, comedies, thrillers and dramas.

Day worked with the biggest leading men of her era such as Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Rock Hudson, James Garner, David Niven and Rod Taylor.

Her last film was "With Six You Get Eggroll" in 1968 after which she turned to the small screen with "The Doris Day Show", which ran for five years and earned a Golden Globe nomination.

The actor was married four times - trombonist Al Jorden, saxophonist George William Weidler, producer Martin Melcher and Barry Comden, who worked as a maitre d' at one of Day's favourite restaurants. Her marriage with Melcher lasted till his death in 1968. Melcher had also adopted Terry, her son from her first marriage. Terry died in 2004.

In her later years, the actor, an animal lover since her teen years, turned to animal welfare. She founded the Doris Day Pet Foundation, now the Doris Day Animal Foundation (DDAF), in 1978.

Day's "wishes were that she have no funeral or memorial service and no grave marker," the foundation said.

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