Doris Day obituary: Calamity Jane star dies aged 97

Doris Day, the beloved singer-turned-Hollywood actress, has died at the grand old age of 97.

In a statement, the Doris Day Animal Foundation said that she had passed away earlier today at her home in Carmel Valley, California. She had been in excellent physical health before recently contracting a serious case of pneumonia but was surrounded by close friends and family when she passed.

Born Mary Ann Von Kappelhoff in April 1922, Day originally wanted to be a dancer but had to abandon her dream after breaking her right leg in a car accident.

Instead she began her singing career at the age of 15. Her first hit, Sentimental Journey, would become a signature tune.

Her film career began in 1948 when she starred in the musical rom-com Romance on the High Seas. From then on, her filmography was dominated by a variety of musicals and rom-coms in 1950s flicks like Tea for Two (1950), Lullaby of Broadway (1951) and I’ll See You in My Dreams (1951).

However her most memorable role came in 1953 when she portrayed legendary cowgirl Calamity Jane in the musical hit Calamity Jane. The film featured renowned tunes including “I Can Do Without You”, “Just Blew in from the Windy City” and the Oscar-winning ballad “Secret Love”.

Day also got the chance to display her more dramatic side with the role of jazz singer Ruth Etting in the musical biopic Love Me or Leave Me (1955). That was then followed by a surprise role as concerned mother Josephine Conway McKenna in the Alfred Hitchcock thriller The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956). Remarkably, the film was made more famous by her iconic rendition of the Oscar-winning song “Que Sera Sera” which remains a huge hit to this day.

After starring in the thriller Julie (1956), Day then returned to lighter roles in the likes of Teacher’s Pet (1958) and The Tunnel of Love (1958). Her most acclaimed role came in 1959 when she landed her only Oscar nomination for her performance as interior decorator Jan Morrow in the rom-com Pillow Talk. The film was one of three collaborations with fellow Hollywood legend Rock Hudson.

The 1960s brought some early success with her role in That Touch of Mink (1961) as well as Golden Globe-nominated work in Midnight Lace (1960), Billy Rose’s Jumbo (1962) and Move Over, Darling (1963).

Her final screen work came through television when she headlined the hit comedy series The Doris Day Show which ran between 1968 and 1973. She then decided to walk away from performing in order to focus her energies on her animal foundation.

Day’s popularity in Hollywood was further evident by her three Golden Globe wins for World Film Favorite (Female) in 1958, 1960 and 1963 plus the Cecil B. DeMille Award in 1989.

According to the foundation, she wished to have no funeral, memorial service or grave marker.

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