Doris Day Legendary Actress, The tantalising ambiguity of America's sweetheart, Carbonated Charm Obscure Her Phenomenal Talent. Day’s death today at 97 should have been a much bigger deal than the press has made it out to be. The actor, singer and animal welfare activist has died at the age of 97.
Though she was marketed as a wholesome girl-next-door type, the comedies for which she was most well-known were actually sexy and daring for their time, and her personal life was tumultuous, with four marriages and a notorious lawsuit. The Doris Day Animal Foundation confirmed the legendary actress-singer died on Monday at her Carmel Valley, Calif. home.
Yet Day’s peppy all-American girl persona belied a career full of hard work that made her far more realistic than she seemed and even as she represented a vanishing vision of the perfect woman, her own life was an example of just how far removed that image was from reality. Day was born Doris von Kappelhoff on April 3, 1922, in Cincinnati and headed to California at age 14 to be a dancer.
The career Day built from there had its ups and downs: In 1968, when her third husband, Martin Melcher, died, she found he had squandered her money, leaving her deeply in debt. She abandoned that dream after her right leg was broken in a car accident.