Actress and singer Doris Day has died, her foundation announced Monday. She was 97. The actress passed away early Monday surrounded by a few close friends at her Carmel Valley home, according to the Doris Day Animal Foundation.
Day had celebrated her 97th birthday just last month with nearly 300 fans who gathered in Carmel to celebrate with her. However she had recently contracted a serious case of pneumonia which resulted in her death, the foundation said.
Day was arguably the top female box-office star in Hollywood history. She had her first hit as a big-band vocalist during World War II before making nearly 40 movies in the next two decades. The actress also headlined The Doris Day Show on CBS, which ran for five seasons from 1968 to 1973. While Day never won an Oscar, she was honored with a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004.
In the mid-’70s, Day withdrew from the limelight to focus on animal rights and set up the Doris Day Animal League and Doris Day Animal Foundation. A staunch advocate for animals, she briefly came out of retirement to host a cable TV pet show called “Doris Day’s Best Friends.”
Married four times, Day had her son, Terry, with her first husband, Al Jorden, and was divorced by 21. Day and her second husband, saxophonist George Weidler, separated after a few months. Husband No. 3, Marty Melcher, was her manager and died in 1968 after 17 years of marriage. Day later learned that he “had secretly contrived” to wipe out her fortune. She later married Barry Comden, a restaurant manager, in 1976. They divorced in 1981. Day’s son, Terry Melcher, who was adopted by her 3rd husband, died of cancer at 62 in 2004.
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