Doris Day Dead, Hollywood Legend Passed Away At Age 97

The legendary film star and singer left showbiz in the 1970s to focus on animal activism.

American actor Doris Day poses on a red Schwinn bicycle, late 1950s.
Hulton Archive / Getty Images

The legendary film star and singer left showbiz in the 1970s to focus on animal activism.

The iconic Hollywood actress and singer Doris Day has passed away at 97, according to a report by the Associated Press.

The Doris Day Animal Foundation confirmed that the star died early Monday at her Carmel Valley, California, home, surrounded by close friends. In a statement, the foundation said Day had been “in excellent physical health for her age, until recently contracting a serious case of pneumonia, resulting in her death.”

The actress and singer was known for her wholesome screen presence as a top star in the 1950s and ’60s in films such as The Pajama Game, Move Over Darling, and That Touch of Mink, and for a collection of romantic comedies with Rock Hudson, including Pillow Talk, Lover Come Back, and Send Me No Flowers. Doris Day was also the voice behind the iconic song “Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)” from the 1956 Alfred Hitchcock film The Man Who Knew Too Much.

Doris Day was awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. The film legend’s songs “Sentimental Journey,” “Secret Love,” and “Que Sera Sera” were all inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Day also received stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for both her film work and her work as a singer. In 2004, Doris Day was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by then-President George W. Bush for her work on behalf of animals, but she skipped the ceremony due to a fear of flying, per Fox News.

While she was once one of the biggest female box office stars in history, Doris Day retired from the entertainment world when she was in her 50s to focus on animal activism and rescue.

Doris Day lived much of her life unaware of her real birth date. The legendary actress long believed her birthdate was April 3, 1924, but two years ago she found out she was actually born in 1922. The Associated Press obtained a copy of Day’s birth certificate from Ohio’s Office of Vital Statistics which revealed that the future superstar was born in Cincinnati on April 3, 1922, to Alma and William Kappelhoff.

“I’ve always said that age is just a number and I have never paid much attention to birthdays, but it’s great to finally know how old I really am!” Doris Day said in a statement after she got the news.

Day also revealed that she wasn’t a fan of birthdays, and she told People that the key to her long life was laughing with friends and having her pets around her.

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Doris Day told Closer Weekly that she had no regrets about quitting show business in 1973 to focus on her work with animals.

“There’s no sense in having regrets,” Doris told Closer. “I just got so involved with animals. We can’t change the past. Although I’ve loved my singing and acting career, my greatest accomplishment is the important work my two charities — the Doris Day Animal Foundation and the Doris Day Animal League — have been doing for almost 40 years.”

Doris Day lost her only child, Terry Melcher, in 2004.