Doris Day, who used her girl-next-door good looks to charm American audiences during a decades-long acting and singing career, died on Monday. She was 97.
Best known for her wistful song “Que Sera, Sera,” Day passed away surrounded by close friends at her home near Carmel Valley, California, the Doris Day Animal Foundation said in a statement to The Associated Press.
She “had been in excellent physical health for her age, until recently contracting a serious case of pneumonia,” according to the foundation. She had just turned 97 on April 3.
In addition to her singing career, Day was also a movie star with hits such as “Pillow Talk” in 1959, “The Man Who Knew Too Much” in 1956, “Love Me or Leave Me” in 1955, “Calamity Jane” in 1953 and “Lover Come Back” in 1960.
For many American Boomers, Day was the first Hollywood star they knew.
“For those of us in my generation, Doris Day was synonymous with Hollywood icon,” actor George Takei said in a statement. “She would no doubt remind us, upon this day of her passing, ‘Que sera sera,’ but we will miss her dearly anyway. Rest now in our hearts forever, Ms. Day.”
Doris Mary Ann von Kappelhoff was born on April 3, 1922, in Cincinnati, the child of mother Alma Sophia Welz and dad Frederick Wilhelm Von Kappelhoff, who was a music teacher.
The youngest of three kids, Day was named after silent movie actress Doris Kenyon.
While Day never won an Oscar, she was honored with a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004.
President George W. Bush declared that it was “a good day for America when Doris Marianne von Kappelhoff of Evanston, Ohio decided to become an entertainer.”