Hollywood legend Doris Day dies aged 97
Doris Day, the singer and actress whose stardom in the 1950s and '60s made her among the most popular screen actresses in history, has died. She was 97.
The entertainer, who in later years became an animal rights advocate, died early Monday at her home in Carmel Valley. California, according to her Doris Day Animal Foundation.
"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 statement.
Born Mary Ann Von Kappelhoff, on April 3, 1922 in Cincinnati, Ohio, she was best known for singing "Que Sera, Sera" and her movies "The Man Who Knew Too Much" in 1956 or "Calamity Jane" in 1953.
The virginal actress and singer — the pop and jazz vocalist had her first No. 1 hit in 1945 — excelled as the star of breezy romantic comedies opposite the likes of Rock Hudson and James Garner.
Although she never won an Oscar, she continued to enjoy movie success and U.S. cinema owners voted her their top moneymaking star in 1960, 1962, 1963 and 1964.
Her wholesome image belied a personal life that included financial troubles and three failed marriages. She married a fourth time at age 52, to businessman Barry Comden in 1976.
President George W. Bush awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004, saying: "Doris Day is one of the greats and America will always love its sweetheart."
She set up her animal foundation in 1978 but continued to record studio albums.
"Her lifelong compassion for animals compelled her to fight animal testing and to advocate for spay/neuter education and outreach programs in the U.S.," the foundation said.
"Her early Spay Day program has become an international event, with World Spay Day providing thousands of free or reduced-cost spay and neuter surgeries in 75 countries."