Doris Day, the actor, singer and animal welfare activist, has passed at the age of 97.
Born Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff in Cincinnati, Ohio, she was known for a string of successful musicals and romantic comedies, including Pillow Talk, as well as a singing career that totalled 29 studio albums.
As a descendant of German immigrants to the US, Day first gained fame with a recording of Sentimental Journey on 1945 as a vocalist for Les Brown and His Band of Renown; the song became a popular Second World War anthem, and by 1946 she was the highest paid female singer in the world.
Her film career started with a role in the 1948 musical comedy Romance on the High Seas. Day proved a hit with audiences, specialising in musical comedy roles, including My Dream is Yours, Tea for Two and I’ll See You in My Dreams.
However, Day’s perky style did not survive America’s mid-60s social shift, and her popularity swiftly declined. Day’s film career tailed off with her last film, With Six You Get Eggroll, in 1968; she then moved to the small screen with The Doris Day Show which ran for five years and after the final season in 1973, she retired and put her efforts into animal welfare activism. She started Doris Day Animal Foundation, a non-profit which aimed at helping animals across the United States.
Ms. Day was married four times, to musicians Al Jorden (1941-43) and George Weidler (1946-49), agent and producer Melcher (1951-68) and restaurateur Barry Comden (1976-81). With her first husband she had her only child, record producer Terry Melcher, who died in 2004.
Day received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the year 2004.