Doris Day, Hollywood star of the 1950s and '60s, dead at 97

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Cape Town - According to a statement released by the Doris Day Foundation, the Hollywood star died on Monday.

There will be no funeral or memorial for iconic American actress-singer Doris Day, as per wishes she made clear in her will. Eventually, she began the Doris Day Animal League and later, the Doris Day Animal Foundation.

Throughout her career, Day also became known as a gay icon for a variety of reasons, and her films hold a special place within the hearts of many LGBT+ fans.

Alfred Hitchcock worked with Day on his film, The Man Who Knew Too Much.

Doris began her career as a singer, with her breakthrough hit "Sentimental Journey" being re-recorded several times over her career, and she became one of the highest-paid vocalists in the USA in the 1950s.

The CBS show turned out to be a success and had a five-year run from 1968-1973.

The career Day built from there had its ups and downs: In 1968, when her third husband, Martin Melcher, died, she found he had squandered her money, leaving her deeply in debt. She had her only son, Terrence Paul Jorden, with her first husband, Al Jorden.

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Day published a frank memoir, "Doris Day: Her Own Story", in 1975 and promoted it by questioning why she was always put forth as "the world's oldest virgin", considering her love life, but as always, seemed to take matters of image in stride. Her big-screen reign continued throughout the 1960s; subsequent hits included Lover Come Back, That Touch of Mink, The Thrill of It All, Send Me No Flowers and Move Over, Darling. She died early today at her Carmel Valley, California home, surrounded by friends.

(Her only nomination came for Pillow Talk; she lost to Simone Signoret for Room at the Top.) But her great movies, particularly the ones with Rock Hudson, have remained favorites for generations, and her renditions of many songs, including "Que Sera, Sera" from The Man Who Knew Too Much, have become classic standards. Her Foundation notes that almost 300 fans gathered in Carmel last month to celebrate her 97th birthday on April 3. Millions of fans thought she was handsome.

She soon became a performer on local radio and then joined a swing band. In 2012, she told Terry Gross at NPR's Fresh Air that she did not understand why such an upbeat, lilting song would be in a movie about a kidnapped boy. Day was "embarrassed to talk about herself or to receive accolades because she loved working", says manager Bob Bashara. Speaking in 2015, Day said she still missed her co-star.

Born to a music teacher and a housewife in Cincinnati, she had dreamed of a dance career, but at age 12 suffered a crippling accident: A auto she was in was hit by a train and her leg was badly broken. "She had a heart of gold and was a very amusing lady who I shared many laughs with".

Melcher committed Day to her television series, The Doris Day Show, without her knowledge.

She had a chance to change course when director Mike Nichols offered her the role of Mrs. Robinson in 'The Graduate, ' but the star wasn't interested. Throughout the course of her career, she appeared in 39 films.

Terry Melcher, her only son, lived in a home on Cielo Drive in Los Angeles with his then-girlfriend, actor Candice Bergen.