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April 3, 2021

20 Fascinating Color Photos of Doris Day in the 1950s

Doris Day was born Doris von Kappelhoff on April 3, 1922, in Cincinnati and headed to California at age 14 to be a dancer. She abandoned that dream after her right leg was broken in an auto accident.

Day concentrated on singing and at 16 had a job with Les Brown, one of the top orchestra leaders of the day, and recorded her first hit, “Sentimental Journey,” with him. She changed her surname at the suggestion of a band leader who heard her sing “Day by Day.”

Day’s movie debut, Romance on the High Seas in 1948, was a hit. A series of musicals followed with Day often playing a singer trying to break into the entertainment world: “My Dream Is Yours” in 1949, “It’s a Great Feeling” in 1949 and “Tea for Two” in 1950.

In 1953, she landed the title role of Calamity Jane, and success continued in 1955 as she teamed with Frank Sinatra for the musical Young at Heart and with James Cagney for the drama Love Me or Leave Me. She expanded her range again in Alfred Hitchcock’s remake of his own The Man Who Knew Too Much, which co-starred Jimmy Stewart.

Day returned to light comedy in 1957 with The Pajama Game and two years later first joined forces with Hudson for Pillow Talk, her most popular movie and the one that earned her an Oscar nomination.

She and Hudson made some of the most popular - and profitable - movies of the early 1960s, including Lover Come Back, Move Over Darling and Send Me No Flowers.

After retiring from performing, Day worked mainly with the Doris Day Animal Foundation, helping abused animals. Her home in Carmel, California, was usually full of dogs and cats, mostly adopted strays.

She stayed away from entertainment circles for more than 20 years after accepting a lifetime achievement honor from Golden Globe organizers in 1989 but released a CD in 2011. Proceeds from the recording went to her animal foundation.

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.


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