Doris Day

Photofest Doris Day

Hollywood icon Doris Day died Monday morning at 97.

The Doris Day Animal Foundation said Day, who was America’s top box-office draw in the late 1950s, was “in excellent physical health” until “recently contracting a serious case of pneumonia.”

Day started her career as a pop and jazz singer.

She recorded her signature, Oscar-winning hit “Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)” for Alfred Hitchcock’s 1956 film The Man Who Knew Too Much, in which she also starred.

Day was nicknamed “the Virgin Queen” because she played chaste characters in movies such as Pillow Talk.

Her 1975 memoir Doris Day: Her Own Story countered her sunny image with details of bankruptcy and abusive marriages.

She was born Mary Ann Von Kappelhoff on April 3, 1922 (the year of her birth was confirmed on her birthday in 2017). Her father was an accomplished musician and voice teacher. Day wanted a career as a dancer but at age 12 was involved in a near-fatal car accident and spent many months in and out of hospitals, cutting short her dancing aspirations.

During her convalescence, she turned to singing, soon performing on radio and in clubs and taking a stage name borrowed from her favorite song, “Day by Day.”

She eventually turned to a quiet life of animal activism.

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