Doris Day says she is not a fan of birthdays anymore. With 92 candles on her latest birthday cake, Day told People it’s more about living a good life than celebrating a big number.
“I’m not really fond of birthdays anymore. Age is just a number. How you feel and live your life is more important.”
On April 3, Day spent her big day in her favorite way: surrounded by a few very close friends and her beloved pets. Doris Day is a renowned animal lover, and she says she is still young at heart. While Day prefers to keep birthdays low key these days, in honor of the Hollywood icon’s 92nd birthday, over the weekend the Doris Day Animal Foundation hosted a big celebration and fundraiser in her honor. Day said she was “grateful and honored” that fans and friends come from all over the world “to help support the precious four-leggers.”
In a previous interview with People in 2011, Day said one of her secrets to longevity is to have her friends and pets around her and to laugh.
“I love to laugh. It’s the only way to live. Enjoy each day – it’s not coming back again!”
Sadly, amidst all of that laughter, Doris Day has shed her share of tears, too. The actress has been through four painful divorces as well as the death of her only child, 62-year-old son Terry Melcher, in 2004. Day was 18-years-old when she had her son.
“I have had a lot of sorrow, and I still feel that.”
Day also talked about her close friendship with her longtime leading man, Rock Hudson. The actress revealed that when Hudson was dying of AIDS in 1985, she went to see him for one final time, and they had an emotional goodbye.
“When we parted, he held onto me. I was in tears. But he’s in heaven now. Almost everybody I love is.”
Doris Day started her career as a singer in the early 1940s before landing roles in romantic big screen musicals and earning an Oscar nod for the 1959 film Pillow Talk. Doris co-starred with many leading men of her day, including Hudson, Cary Grant, and Frank Sinatra.
Doris recorded her biggest hit, “Que Sera, Sera,” for the soundtrack to the 1956 Alfred Hitchcock movie The Man Who Knew Too Much, a film she also starred in with James Stewart. In an interview with Parade, Day said she initially thought the song was kind of a strange choice to be in the Hitchcock suspense film, but in the end, it won an Academy Award for Best Original Song.
“At first I thought it was kind of a silly song for that film. But it was good in the movie, and people sang it to their children.”
Day made her final film, With Six You Get Eggroll, opposite Brian Keith, in 1968. The actress/singer also headed a popular CBS sitcom The Doris Day Show, which aired from 1968 to 1973, but she begrudgingly only did the show to pay off debt that her third husband had racked up.
Doris Day left the Hollywood limelight decades ago to live a private life in Carmel, California. Today, she surrounds herself with her pets, friends, and, of course, her fan mail.
“It wasn’t the city I knew anymore. If I had stayed, I might be playing a grandmother – who knows! But I love living in a small town. I have my pets around me, and I like to answer my fan mail.”
Take a look at the video below to see Doris Day singing her biggest hit song, “Que Sera Sera.”
[Photo by Keystone/Getty Images]