Doris Day (born Doris Mary Anne Kappelhoff; April 3, 1922 – May 13, 2019) was an American actress, singer, and animal welfare activist. She began her career as a big band singer in 1939, achieving commercial success in 1945 with two No. 1 recordings, “Sentimental Journey” and “My Dreams Are Getting Better All the Time” with Les Brown & His Band of Renown. She left Brown to embark on a solo career and recorded more than 650 songs from 1947 to 1967.
Day was one of the biggest film stars in the 1950s–1960s era. Day’s film career began during the Golden Age of Hollywood with the film Romance on the High Seas (1948). She starred in films of many genres, including musicals, comedies, dramas, and thrillers. She played the title role in Calamity Jane (1953) and starred in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) with James Stewart. Her best-known films are those in which she co-starred with Rock Hudson, chief among them 1959’s Pillow Talk, for which she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress. She also worked with James Garner on both Move Over, Darling (1963) and The Thrill of It All (1963), and starred alongside Clark Gable, Cary Grant, James Cagney, David Niven, Ginger Rogers, Jack Lemmon, Frank Sinatra, Kirk Douglas, Lauren Bacall, and Rod Taylor in various movies. After ending her film career in 1968, only briefly removed from the height of her popularity, she starred in her own sitcom The Doris Day Show (1968–1973).
In 1989, she was awarded the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement in motion pictures. In 2004, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2008, she received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award as well as a Legend Award from the Society of Singers. In 2011, she was awarded the Los Angeles Film Critics Association’s Career Achievement Award. The same year, she released her 29th studio album, My Heart, which contained new material and became a UK Top 10 album. As of 2020, she was one of eight record performers to have been the top box-office earner in the United States four times.
After her retirement from films, Day lived in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. She had many pets and adopted stray animals. She was a lifelong Republican. Her only child was music producer and songwriter Terry Melcher, who had a hit in the 1960s with “Hey Little Cobra” under the name The Rip Chords before becoming a successful producer whose acts included The Byrds, Paul Revere & the Raiders, and The Beach Boys; he died of melanoma in November 2004. Since the 1980s Day owned a hotel in Carmel-by-the-Sea called the Cypress Inn which she originally co-owned with her son. It was an early pet–friendly hotel and was featured in Architectural Digest in 1999.
Day was married four times. From March 1941 to February 1943, she was married to trombonist Al Jorden (1917–1967), whom she met in Barney Rapp’s Band. Jorden was a violent schizophrenic who later died by suicide. When Day became pregnant and refused to have an abortion, he beat her in an attempt to force a miscarriage. Their son, Terrence “Terry” Paul Jorden, was born in 1942, and changed his name to Terrence Paul Melcher when he was adopted by Day’s third husband.
Her second marriage was to George William Weidler (1926–1989) from March 30, 1946, to May 31, 1949, a saxophonist and the brother of actress Virginia Weidler. Weidler and Day met again several years later during a brief reconciliation, and he introduced her to Christian Science.
Day married American film producer Martin Melcher (1915–1968) on April 3, 1951, her 29th birthday, and this marriage lasted until he died in April 1968. Melcher adopted Day’s son Terry, who became a successful musician and record producer under the name Terry Melcher. Martin Melcher produced many of Day’s movies. They were both Christian Scientists, resulting in her not seeing a doctor for some time for symptoms which suggested cancer.
Day’s fourth marriage was to Barry Comden (1935–2009) from April 14, 1976, until April 2, 1982. He was the maître d’hôtel at one of Day’s favorite restaurants. He knew of her great love of dogs and endeared himself to her by giving her a bag of meat scraps and bones on her way out of the restaurant. He later complained that she cared more for her “animal friends” than she did for him.
Day died on May 13, 2019, at the age of 97, after having contracted pneumonia. Her death was announced by her charity, the Doris Day Animal Foundation. Per Day’s requests, the Foundation announced that there would be no funeral services, grave marker, or other public memorials. (Wikipedia)