Job Actress, singer, animal rights activist
Years active 1939-present * 1948-1973 (acting)
Known for Girl-next-door, engaging smile, vivacity with gusto
Top Roles Marjorie 'Marjie' Winfield, Katherine 'Babe' Williams, Calamity Jane, Cathy Timberlake, Jan Morrow
Top GenresComedy, Romance, Musical, Drama, Film Adaptation, Mystery
Top TopicsRomance (Comic), Based on Play, Mistaken Identity
Top Collaborators (Producer), (Director), (Director), (Director)
Shares birthday with Leslie Howard, Marlon Brando, Mary Anderson  see more..

Doris Day Overview:

Legendary actress, Doris Day, was born Doris Mary Ann Von Kappelhoff on Apr 3, 1922 in Cincinnati, OH. Day appeared in 40 film and TV roles. Her best known films include Romance on the High Seas (feature film debut), On Moonlight Bay, Calamity Jane, The Pajama Game, Love Me or Leave Me, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Midnight Lace, Please Don't Eat the Daisies, That Touch of Mink, The Thrill of It All and her three romantic comedies with Rock Hudson: Pillow Talk, Lover Come Back and Send Me No Flowers. Doris Day also appeared in her own sitcom TV series, The Doris Day Show, from 1968-1973. Day died at the age of 97 on May 13, 2019 in Carmel Valley, CA from pneumonia .

Early Life

Doris Day was born Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff on April 3, 1922 in Cincinnati, Ohio and was the youngest of three children born to William and Alma Sophia Von Kappelhoff. From her earliest of childhood, young Doris was surrounded by music. Her father was a music teacher, choirmaster and church organist with a strong penchant for classical music while her mother had a love for blue grass"hill-billy" music. While still in her formative years, Day's parents divorced due to her fathers wondering eye and young Doris would live with her mother. Always a rambunctious child, Day's tomboy tendencies eventually manifested themselves into a love of dance. By the mid-thirties she formed a dance duo with Jerry Doherty, often winning local dance contests in her hometown. However, any larger dancing ambitions Day may have had came to end in 1937, after she was involved in horrible car crash and suffered a compound fracture in her leg. During her long recovery period, she began to a new hobby: singing. Stuck in bed with little ability to move, Doris would spend her day listening to the radio, developing a particular attachment crooning styles of Ella Fitzgerald.

Early Singing Career

The young Doris was soon taking singing lesson, and was told she had great potential. In less then a year of lessons, the teenaged Day was performing in her local restaurants and radio programs. She soon caught the fancy of orchestra leader Barney Rapp who was in need of a female vocalist. Although only 15 at the time, Day told Rapp she was 18 in order to secure the job. After her tenure with Rapp was over in 1940, she began working with Bob Crosby, younger brother of now legendary crooner Bing Crosby. She then moved to working with Les Brown. The relationship proved fruitful and in 1945 Day recorded her first big hit Sentimental Journey, co-written by Brown. The song became something of an unofficial anthem for returning troops as they came home from fighting the war "over there"According to Brown, "She was every bandleader's dream, a vocalist who had natural talent, a keen regard for the lyrics and an attractive appearance." After the success of Sentimental Journey, Day became a national sensation and had multiple top ten billboard hits such as My Dreams are Getting Better All the Time, The Whole World is Singing My Song, and I Got the Sun in the Morning. In 1946, she became the highest-paid female band singer on the globe.

Film Career

While touring across American, Day also appeared frequently on Bob Hope's radio show. This helped Day receive the attention of talent agent Al Levy, who soon got the songstress a contract with Warner Brothers. Her first assignment was the 1948 Michael Curtiz musical comedy Romance on the High Seas opposite Jack Carson. She recorded the song It's Magic for the film, which offered her with her first number hit as solo recording artist. The song also gave her first Oscar nomination for Best Original Song. The next year she reteamed with Curtiz and Carson for another musical comedy, My Dream is Yours and again with Carson in It's a Great Feeling. In 1950 she stepped outside the comforts of the musical comedy, starring opposite Kirk Douglas and Lauren Bacall in the biographical drama Young Man with a Horn. She followed that up with two more fluff pieces Tea for Two and The West Point Story opposite James Cagney. In 1951 she once again played against type in the Stuart Heisler film Storm Warning. In the film, Day plays a housewife unaware that her husband is a KKK member.

For the next few years, she worked mostly on fluff musical pieces that reinforced her "girl-next-door" image. These musical comedies include  I'll See You in My Dreams, On Moonlight Bay Lullaby on Broadway, April in Paris, and By the Light of the Silvery Moon. Thanks to these films, Day's music career continued to flourish, as each film was sure to involve some sort of radio hit. In 1953 she starred in the western themed musical Calamity Jane, which chronicles the titular's characters saloon adventures and her romance with "Wild" Bill Hickok. The film would go on to win the Academy Award for Best Original song thanks to her rendition of Secret Love, which also became yet another #1 single for ever-popular songstress. The film has been reported as the favorite of all her film roles.

Continued Success

As the middle of the decade rolled on, Day found herself taking more challenging dramatic roles. In 1955 she starred opposite James Cagney in the biographical film Love Me or Leave Me. In the film, chronicled the career and controversies of Jazz era singer Ruth Etting. The film was major critical and commercial success and became Day's largest box-office success to date. The films also helped boost her crooning career, as the soundtrack for the film was a number #1 hit. Her next film was the Alfred Hitchcock thriller, The Man Who Knew Too Much opposite James Stewart. The film was a hit with both audiences and critics, with much praise going to Day's performance as a frantic mother of a missing child. She also recorded the song Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be) for the film. It would go to win Best Original Song at the 1957 Oscar Ceremony and has since become one of her signature tunes. That year she also starred in thriller Julie, which received little attention from either the box-office or the trade papers.

She returned to light hearted comedies in the mid-1950's with films like The Pajama Game, The Tunnel of Love and It Happened to Jane. In 1959 she starred opposite Rock Hudson in the romantic comedy Pillow Talk. The film was an incredible success, winning wild praise from most major critics and grossing over 18 million at the box. The film was nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Original Song, Best Actress, Best Art direction and Best Actress for Doris Day. She followed that up the 1960 popular comedy, Please Don't Eat the Daisies opposite David Niven. In 1962 she starred with the Cary Grant in That Touch of Mink. The film was an incredible success and became the first to gross 1 million dollars at one singular theatre at the Radio City Music Hall. The next year she starred opposite James Garner in yet another successful romantic comedy The Thrill of it All followed immediately by Move over Darling.


For over a decade Day ruled as box office Queen, appearing in the Top 10 at the box office ten times and was the #1 attraction two years in a row. However, as the decade came to close, so did the collective social attitude. As the sexual revolution became mainstream and as America's views of sexuality began to change, Day's wholesome virginal screen image became quickly obsolete. In 1964 she starred with Rock Hudson in  Send Me No Flowers. Although the film was profitable, it received only mixed reviews in the trade papers. Her next film, 1965's  Do Not Disturb was major failure at the box-office and critics. Although her next film The Glass Bottom Boat, was successful, her career quickly declined after that. Her next three films, The Ballad of Josie, Caprice, and Where Were You When the Lights Went Out? were all critical and commercial failures and in 1968 she made her final film appearance in 1968 film With Six You Get Eggroll.

Later Career and Life

In 1968 she suffer the loss of her husband Terry Melcher. Soon after his death it was revealed that he had squandered much of her money and leaving Day in debt. Although she wanted to leave the entertainment industry, her financial situation forced her accept a starring role in her television show simple titled The Doris Day Show. The show was a moderate success and ran from 1968-1973. In 1975 Day announced her retirement from acting. Soon after, she devoted her time to a cause near to her heart, animal rights activism and in the mid-1970's established The Doris Day Animal Foundation. In 1975 she released her autobiography Doris Day: Her Own Story, chronicling her life, her three troubled marriages and general difficulties of the film industry.  In 1989 she received the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award and in 1994 the Presidential Medal of Honor. Day currently lives in Carmel-by-the-Sea California, remaining active in her animal activism work.

(Source: article by Minoo Allen for Classic Movie Hub).


Doris Day starred in three movies with Rock Hudson and Tony Randall: Pillow Talk, Lover Come Back and Send Me No Flowers.



Although Day was nominated for one Oscar, she never won a competitive Academy Award.

Academy Awards

YearAwardFilm nameRoleResult
1959Best ActressPillow Talk (1959)Jan MorrowNominated

She was honored with two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the categories of Recording and Motion Pictures. Doris Day's handprints and footprints were 'set in stone' at Grauman's Chinese Theater during imprint ceremony #117 on Jan 19, 1961.

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Doris Day Quotes:

Calamity Jane: This town ain't big enough! Not for me and that frilled-up, flirtin', man-rustlin' petticoat, it ain't!

Jennifer Nelson: Donna, may I borrow a dime please? I have to call my dog.

August 'Augie' Poole: [Isolde has confronted him on the mysterious imbalance of 1000 dollars in their bank account] "Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive." Who was it said that?
Isolde Poole: The cashier at the Westport Bank.

read more quotes from Doris Day...

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Doris Day Facts
Her only UK appreciation club is called 'Friends of Doris Day' and is based in Oxford UK.

Her father was William Kappelhoff, a music teacher and choral master in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her mother was Alma Sophia Kappelhoff.

Referenced in the song "Wrap Her Up" by Elton John.

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