Doris Day, 'Pillow Talk' Star, Was America's '50s Sweetheart

By | May 13, 2019

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Portrait of Doris Day from the '60s; with Rock Hudson on the movie poster for 'Pillow Talk' (1959). Sources: Bettmann/Getty; IMDB

Doris Day, the Calamity Jane, The Man Who Knew Too Much, and Pillow Talk star, was a talented actress, singer and dancer. Day was idolized for her girl-next-door good looks and a playful innocence that starkly contrasted the appeal of more overt sex symbols of her day, like Marilyn Monroe. When she died on May 13, 2019, at the age of 97 after a bout with pneumonia, Hollywood mourned the loss of an icon. Let’s look back at the life and legacy of the beautiful and talented singer and actress Doris Day. 

The Early Years

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Doris Day in 1957. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Doris Day was her stage name. Her real name was Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff and she was born on April 3, 1922 in Ohio. Her mother, Alma, was a housewife and her father, William Joseph Kappelhoff, was a music teacher and choir director. She learned much about music from her father, but Doris had her heart set on being a dancer. She and a boy from her school, Jerry Doherty, formed a dance duo and won some talent contests, one of them netting them $500. Doris was just 14 years old when she made plans to move to Hollywood with Doherty to seek their fortune as show business dancers. But it was not meant to be. The night before the couple was supposed to leave Cincinnati for the bright lights of Hollywood, Doris’s car was struck by a train and she was severely injured. Her dancing career ended before it even began.