Doris Day, the legendary actress and singer died early Monday of pneumonia. She was 97.
The Doris Day Animal Foundation confirmed that Day died — surrounded by friends — at her Carmel Valley, Calif., home.
“Day had been in excellent physical health for her age, until recently contracting a serious case of pneumonia, resulting in her death,” the foundation said in an emailed statement.
The foundation also said she requested “no funeral or memorial service and no grave marker.”
Calamity Jane and The Man Who Knew Too Much were among Day’s other best-loved films; the latter spawned “Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be),” which became her signature tune.
With her lilting contralto, wholesome blonde beauty and glowing smile, Day was a top box office draw and recording artist known for such films as “Pillow Talk” and “That Touch of Mink” and for such songs as “Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)” from the Alfred Hitchcock film “The Man Who Knew Too Much.”
Over time, she became more than a name above the title: Right down to her cheerful, alliterative stage name, she stood for a time of innocence and G-rated love, a parallel world to her contemporary Marilyn Monroe.
She starred in Hitchcock’s “The Man Who Knew Too Much,” with James Stewart as an innocent couple ensnared in an international assassination plot. She sang “Que Sera, Sera” just as the story reached its climax. The 1958 comedy “Teacher’s Pet” paired her with an aging Clark Gable.
In her Oscar-nominated role in 1959′s “Pillow Talk,” the first of her three films with Rock Hudson, she proudly caught up with what she called “the contemporary in me.” Her 1976 tell-all book, “Doris Day: Her Own Story,” chronicled her money troubles and three failed marriages, contrasting with the happy publicity of her Hollywood career.
“Tomboyish and tough, or smart career woman, she may have capitulated to marriage and domesticity by the final frame, but only on her own terms,” culture critic David Benedict once wrote about Day for London’s Independent.
Day shared the screen with Hollywood legends Clark Gable (Teacher’s Pet), James Cagney (Love Me or Leave Me) and Cary Grant (That Touch of Mink). She worked with James Stewart and Alfred Hitchcock (The Man Who Knew Too Much). She excelled in light comedies opposite the likes of James Garner, Rod Taylor and, above all, Rock Hudson.
Although mostly retired from show business since the 1980s, she still had enough of a following that a 2011 collection of previously unreleased songs, “My Heart,” hit the top 10 in the United Kingdom. The same year, she received a lifetime achievement honor from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. Friends and supporters lobbied for years to get her an honorary Oscar.