Doris Day Dead at 97

Doris Day

American actress Doris Day circa 1963

The actress kept up a squeaky clean image in her choice of movie roles - famously turning down the role of Mrs Robinson in the hit film The Graduate as being too racy. "I thought she was handsome". Usually, at least one song from any given film's soundtrack became a hit on the music charts. "I love to laugh", said the star who made so many others laugh and sing. You may know her from her roles in "Pillow Talk", "That Touch of Mink", "The Thrill of It All", "The Man Who Knew Too Much" and "Move Over, Darling".

Although the singer was just 20 when she recorded it, there's a tired sentimentality to her phrasing that chimed with the troops.

But ultimately, when musicals started to fade from popularity, Day ended up settling back into that girl next door archetype by being the star of several popular romantic comedies. The 1958 comedy "Teacher's Pet" paired her with an aging Clark Gable. She only ever garnered just one Oscar nomination - for "Pillow Talk".

All of the upheaval in Doris Day's life, however, was kept in the background.

When her third husband, film producer Martin Melcher, died in 1968, Day was shocked to learn that he and his business partner, Jerome Bernard Rosenthal, had squandered her earnings for 17 years.

Day wasn't done with the entertainment world yet though. Her only child, son Terry, was born in 1942, and the couple divorced the following year. Following her retirement from the screen, Doris Day became somewhat reclusive, dedicating her time to her passion for animals, founding the Doris Day Animal Foundation, in the 1970s.

Doris Day was a woman of grace and beauty of the kind that go well beyond the surface. "May she rest peacefully".

"For those of us in my generation, Doris Day was synonymous with Hollywood icon", actor George Takei said on Twitter Monday.

Doris receiving her Lifetime Achievement Award Golden Globe in 1989.

A recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004, Day was often discussed as a potential honorary Oscar recipient, but she steadfastly refused to appear at the ceremony to collect the theoretical honor. Her passionate work on behalf of animals in need, including cats, dogs, and horses, led her to fight animal testing and advocate for spay/neuter education and outreach programs in the U.S. The Foundation will continue its work. "An image, I can assure you, more make-believe than any film part I ever played".

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