1960s movie star and an­i­mal wel­fare ac­tivist Doris Day died Mon­day at her home in Carmel Val­ley. She was 97.

The Tribune (SLO) - - Front Page - BY ALJEAN HARMETZ

Doris Day, the freck­le­faced movie ac­tress whose ir­re­press­ible per­son­al­ity and golden voice made her Amer­ica’s top box-of­fice star in the early 1960s, died Mon­day at her home in Carmel Val­ley, Cal­i­for­nia. She was 97.

The Doris Day An­i­mal Foun­da­tion an­nounced her death.

Day be­gan her ca­reer as a big-band vo­cal­ist, and she was suc­cess­ful al­most from the start. One of her first records, “Sen­ti­men­tal Jour­ney,” re­leased in 1945, sold more than a mil­lion copies, and she went on to have nu­mer­ous other hits. Band­leader Les Brown, with whom she sang for sev­eral years, once said, “As a singer Doris be­longs in the com­pany of Bing Crosby and Frank Si­na­tra.”

But it was the movies that made her a star.

Be­tween “Ro­mance on the High Seas” in 1948 and “With Six You Get Eg­groll” in 1968, she starred in nearly 40 movies. On the screen she turned from the perky girl next door in the 1950s to the woman next door in a se­ries of 1960s sex come­dies that brought her four first-place rank­ings in the yearly pop­u­lar­ity poll of the­ater owners, an ac­com­plish­ment equaled by no other ac­tress ex­cept Shirley Temple.

She went on to ap­pear in fast-paced come­dies in which she fended off the ad­vances of Rock Hud­son and Cary Grant.

“I sup­pose she was so clean-cut, with per­fect un­capped teeth, freck­les and turned-up nose, that peo­ple just thought she fit­ted the con­cept of a vir­gin,” Hud­son once said of Day. “But when we be­gan ‘Pil­low Talk,’ we thought we’d ruin our ca­reers be­cause the script was pretty dar­ing stuff.” The movie’s plot, he said, “in­volved noth­ing more than me try­ing to se­duce Doris for eight reels.”

“Pil­low Talk” won Day her sole Academy Award nom­i­na­tion.

Day turned down the part of Mrs. Robinson, the mid­dle-aged temptress who se­duces Dustin Hoffman in the ground­break­ing 1967 film “The Grad­u­ate,” be­cause, she said, the no­tion of an older woman se­duc­ing a young man “of­fended my sense of val­ues.” The part went to Anne Ban­croft, who was nom­i­nated for an Academy Award.

By the time she re­tired in 1973, af­ter star­ring for five years on “The Doris Day Show,” Day had been dis­missed as a goody-twoshoes, the leader of Hol­ly­wood’s chastity brigade.

But the pass­ing decades have brought a reap­praisal, es­pe­cially by some fem­i­nists, of Day’s screen per­son­al­ity and her achieve­ments. In her book “Hold­ing My Own in No Man’s Land” (1997), critic Molly Haskell de­scribed Day as “chal­leng­ing, in her work­ing-woman roles, the lim­ited destiny of women to marry, live hap­pily ever af­ter and never be heard from again.”

At 15, Day’s leg was shat­tered when the au­to­mo­bile in which she was rid­ing was hit by a train. To dis­tract Doris dur­ing the year it took the leg to mend, her mother paid for singing les­sons.

Day told Hotch­ner that an­other im­por­tant thing hap­pened dur­ing her year of re­cu­per­a­tion: She was given a small dog.

Dur­ing the last decades of her life, through her foun­da­tion, Day spent much of her time res­cu­ing and find­ing homes for stray dogs, and she worked to end the use of an­i­mals in cos­met­ics and house­hold-prod­ucts re­search.

AP file

Ac­tress and an­i­mal rights ac­tivist Doris Day re­ceived the Ce­cil B. DeMille Award at the an­nual Golden Globe Awards cer­e­mony in Los An­ge­les on Jan. 28, 1989.

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