Culture&Arts

'Innocent, cheerful, caring': readers' tribute to Doris Day

'Innocent, cheerful, caring': readers' tribute to Doris Day

Doris Day, an actress and singer whose career and activism endured from the 1930s, has died, according to multiple sources.

Born Mary Ann Von Kappelhoff - a name she'd occasionally use as a punchline or inside joke in her sitcom - in Cincinnati, Ohio, Day was among the few "girl singers" of the '40s and '50s who successfully transitioned to a lasting Hollywood acting career, outdoing peers such as Rosemary Clooney. "Doris Day would be true blue, understanding, direct, honest, and even a little sexy".

Doris's mother, Alma, arranged for her to have lessons with singing teacher Grace Raine, who was so impressed that she gave her three sessions a week for the price of one.

Day celebrated her 97th birthday on just ten days ago on April 3.

Day's signature song was "Que Sera Sera", a handsome tune made even better with her voice.

Her singing career began after working on WLW radio program Carlin's Carnival.

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In 1951 Day married agent Martin Melcher and after his 1968 death, she found he had left her almost penniless. She followed with "The Man Who Knew Too Much", starring with James Stewart as an innocent couple ensnared in an global assassination plot. She then went to television with "The Doris Day Show" which ran for five seasons and 128 episodes from 1966-1973.

Her most famous songs, meanwhile, surely include the 1956 release of Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be).

Honors for her work include the Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded in 2004 by President George W. Bush, and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.

You can nearly hear Day swoon in this romantic cover of the Frank Sinatra standard, recorded in 1962 with pianist Andre Previn.

In 1948, she made her first film, Romance On The High Seas - the first of a string of hits that later included Calamity Jane, Love Me Or Leave Me and Please Don't Eat the Daisies. Melcher was a music producer and songwriter who passed away of melanoma in November 2004. She had her only son, Terrence Paul Jorden, with her first husband, Al Jorden.

She ended up marrying a fourth time to Barry Comden in 1976, but they divorced in 1982. He also became known for turning down late cult leader Charles Manson when Manson auditioned for him after he was initially interested in recording Manson's music.