Doris Day, 1922-2019

Doris Day, singer, radio performer, motion picture star, and television performer has died. From the Variety obit:

Doris Day, one of Hollywood’s most popular stars of the 1950s and ’60s who was Oscar-nommed for “Pillow Talk” and starred in her own TV show, has died. She was 97.

The Doris Day Animal Foundation confirmed the legendary actress-singer died on Monday at her Carmel Valley, Calif. home.

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 vivacious blonde, who also had a successful singing career, teamed with Rock Hudson in “Pillow Talk” and other lighthearted romantic comedies including “Lover Come Back” and “Send Me No Flowers.” Her other significant screen roles included Alfred Hitchcock thriller “The Man Who Knew Too Much” (1956), co-starring James Stewart and featuring Day’s Oscar-winning song “Que Sera Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be”); and “The Pajama Game” (1957), based on the Broadway musical.

She was an important figure in show biz. After getting her start as a band singer in the 1940s, she was the singer on Bob Hope’s radio program for a while. One of her predecessors in that job was Judy Garland. Hope had a keen eye for talent.

Five of the songs she recorded hit #1 on the pop charts, twenty were in the top 10. None of her many movies was the top grossing picture of the year in which it was released but she was a reliable box office favorite for in more pictures for twenty years—a longer period than movie stas typically enjoy.

I’ve never been a great fan of the movies that made her famous. Check out

Storm Warning (1951)
Love Me Or Leave Me (1955)
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
Julie (1956)
Midnight Lace (1960)

for roles somewhat different from those you’re used to seeing her in. They vary from great (Storm Warning, The Man Who Knew Too Much), to overwrought (Midnight Lace) to just plain weird (Julie).

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