Beloved entertainer Doris Day has passed away at the age of 97.
Born Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff, she only recently discovered her true birth date: April 3, 1922.
For most of her life, Doris believed she was two years younger.
She found her love and talent for music while recovering from a car accident that left her with a leg injury as a teen. “During this long, boring period,” she explained in the biography Doris Day: Her Own Story, “I used to while away a lot of time listening to the radio, sometimes singing along.” Her favorite singer to listen to was Ella Fitzgerald, who later covered one of Doris’ tunes.
She gained initial success in 1945 with her hit song, “Sentimental Journey,” an anthem for the soldiers overseas wishing they could be at home. By 1946, she held the title of highest paid female band vocalist worldwide.
Doris followed that with a few small roles and found critical success, becoming hugely popular for her romantic comedy films beginning in 1959. She and frequent costar Rock Hudson formed a famously long-lasting friendship up until Rock’s untimely death in 1985. Their partnership in films remains as one of the most beloved duos in history.
She also founded and cofounded several animal rights organizations, as well as lobbied the US Congress on behalf of animal welfare activism. The Doris Day Animal League merged with the Humane Society of the United States in 2006, and in 2011, she opened a horse sanctuary in Texas.
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