Legendary actress and singer Doris Day dead at 97
By NICOLE PELLETIERE and MICHAEL ROTHMAN via GMA
Legendary actress Doris Day has died at the age of 97.
The Doris Day Animal Foundation confirmed Day’s death Monday at her home in Carmel, California.
“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 press release. “She was surrounded by a few close friends as she passed.”
Day recently celebrated her 97th birthday on April 3.
Day was born Doris Mary Ann von Kappelhoff on April 3, 1922, in Cincinnati, Ohio. She was the youngest of three siblings, according to her website, DorisDay.com. Day’s 1941 marriage to trombonist Al Jorden lasted two years, not long after the birth of their son Terry. In 1946, Day married George Weidler, but the couple divorced less than a year later.
In 1948, Day appeared in her very first film, “Romance on the High Seas.”
But it was her roles in musicals like “Tea for Two” (1950), “Lullaby of Broadway” (1951), “On Moonlight Bay” (1951), “By the Light of the Silvery Moon” (1953) and Calamity Jane (1953) that helped Day sell hit records like “It’s Magic” and “Secret Love.”
In 1956, Day played opposite James Stewart in Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller, “The Man Who Knew Too Much. ” It was that film where Day performed the hit “Que Sera Sera,” which won a 1957 Oscar for best original song.
Day was honored with many awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004 and a Grammy for Lifetime Achievement in 2008.
Day was known by her fans and peers to live a private life at her home in California. Her passion was her organization, The Doris Day Animal Foundation (ddaf.org), which she founded in 1978.
“Originally Doris went out and did all of the rescues herself. That’s how it all started,” her business manager and longtime friend, Bob Bashara, told “GMA” in April. “She’d pick any animal up on the street and bring it home. She can’t do that anymore [because] she’s 97. But she’s so interested in her foundation and how it’s helping animals.”
In 2017, one day before Day would celebrate what she thought was her 93rd birthday, The Associated Press revealed that the “Calamity Jane” star was actually 95 — a surprise to Day herself, who always thought she was born in 1924, making her two years younger.
The AP obtained a copy of Day’s birth certificate, which states that Doris Mary Kappelhoff, her birth name, was born on April 3, 1922. Her parents were Alma and William Kappelhoff of Cincinnati.
Day’s publicist, Charley Cullen Walters, previously told ABC News that it’s possible that Day had written her age incorrectly on an audition form when she was young.
“I’ve always said that age is just a number and I have never paid much attention to birthdays, but it’s great to finally know how old I really am!” Day said in a statement regarding the mix-up.
Bashara said Day may have changed her age at the request of the studio she was working for at the time.
“Otherwise, Doris never pays much attention to age,” Bashara said.
Each year, Day would celebrate her birthday to benefit the Doris Day Animal Foundation. In 2019, 60th anniversary screening of the 1959 film,”Pillow Talk,” in which Day co-starred with Rock Hudson, also took place.