Actress And Singer Doris Day Dies At 97 Doris Day's career began as a singer in the big band era and she seemingly effortlessly made the transition to the big screen. Day died Monday morning at her home in California at the age of 97.
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Actress And Singer Doris Day Dies At 97

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Actress And Singer Doris Day Dies At 97

Actress And Singer Doris Day Dies At 97

Actress And Singer Doris Day Dies At 97

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Doris Day's career began as a singer in the big band era and she seemingly effortlessly made the transition to the big screen. Day died Monday morning at her home in California at the age of 97.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Now we're going to remember one of the last stars of Hollywood's golden age. Doris Day died this morning at her home in California after a brief bout of pneumonia. She had celebrated her 97th birthday just last month. Of course Day was a movie star, but that was sandwiched between her early success as a big band singer and her later activism for animal rights. Sonari Glinton has this appreciation.

SONARI GLINTON, BYLINE: She was the girl next door, which is probably why her films with Rock Hudson were so successful. I mean, who wouldn't want to see a young Doris Day in the bathtub?

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "PILLOW TALK")

DORIS DAY: (As Jan Morrow) You'll find that most people are willing to meet you halfway if you let them.

ROCK HUDSON: (As Brad Allen) Am I going to see you tonight?

DAY: (As Jan Morrow) Oh, I'd love to, Rex. But I already have a date tonight.

GLINTON: In this scene from "Pillow Talk," the screen is split. Day and Hudson are in their separate bathtubs, but it looks like they're in the same one with their feet touching. Kind of risque for 1959.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "PILLOW TALK")

HUDSON: (As Brad Allen) I'll pick you up at 8.

DAY: (As Jan Morrow) I'll be ready.

GLINTON: That was day at the height of her film success, but her career began as a big band girl singer. And with Les Brown's big band, she had one of the biggest hits of World War II.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY")

DAY: (Singing) Going to take a sentimental journey. Going to set my heart at ease.

GLINTON: For many GIs, Doris Day represented the kind of girl you'd want to fight for and come home to.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "QUE SERA SERA")

DAY: (Singing) When I was just a little girl...

GLINTON: The end of the war brought the end of the big band era and the beginning of Day's film career. Alfred Hitchcock used Day's voice as a plot device. In "The Man Who Knew Too Much," a distraught Day sings a distress signal to her kidnapped son.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "QUE SERA SERA")

DAY: (Singing) Que sera, sera. Whatever will be, will be.

GLINTON: "Que Sera Sera" became her signature tune and went to the No. 2 spot on the charts. Will Friedwald wrote the book on jazz singing - literally.

WILL FRIEDWALD: I mean, she really is sort of the mother of all tuneful sunny blondes. But at the same time, there's definitely a dark side to her. You know, she can explore that kind of emotion very effectively in song.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME")

DAY: (Singing) There'll be no one unless that someone is you.

GLINTON: In the musical drama "Love Me Or Leave Me," Doris Day plays '30s singer Ruth Etting opposite Jimmy Cagney, who plays her jilted mobster husband.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME")

JAMES CAGNEY: (As Martin Snyder) You've got to give her credit. The girl can sing.

GLINTON: In the '50s, Day played a lot of these meaty roles in movies such as "Calamity Jane," "Pajama Game," "The Man Who Knew Too Much." But it wasn't until the end of the decade that she settled into the romantic comedies and the persona that would stick - the girl next door. Norman Jewison directed Doris Day in two films in the 1960s.

NORMAN JEWISON: She was a good girl. She wasn't too smart. She brought a kind of an honesty and a freshness. And she was also strangely sexy.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PERHAPS PERHAPS PERHAPS")

DAY: (Singing) You always tell me, perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.

GLINTON: Doris Day's husband and manager died suddenly in 1968. Not only had he lost her entire fortune, but he signed her to a television series without her knowledge. Doris Day slogged through the five seasons of "The Doris Day Show" and left Hollywood. And it seems if she couldn't be the girl next door in her youth, as the years passed, she could come close - sort of. Sonari Glinton, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PERHAPS PERHAPS PERHAPS")

DAY: (Singing) Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.

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