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Doris Day: Career in pictures

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Who says nice girls finish last? America’s favorite girl next door parlayed her wholesome image into being the biggest box-office star for four years in the 1960s and picked up a Golden Globe, a lifetime achievement Grammy, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the film academy’s honorary Cecil B. DeMille Award. She’s also saved the lives of countless animals through her activism and charity.

Here’s a look back at Day’s decades-long career in and out of Hollywood.  (Unknown Photographer)
‘Romance on the High Seas’ (1948)
Day launched her career with “Romance on the High Seas.” The musical comedy follows a wife (Janis Paige) who suspects her husband of cheating. She hires a travel agency employee (Day) to take her place on a cruise while she stays home to spy on her husband. Meanwhile, he sends a private detective to keep tabs on his wife. In time, Day’s character Georgia Garrett and the detective (Jack Carson) fall in love.

The success of “Romance” led to many more projects for the budding star, who spent the early 1950s making films like “My Dream Is Yours,” “It’s a Great Story,” “Tea for Two” and “The West Point Story.” (Warner Bros.)
‘The Winning Team’ (1952)
A comeback story, this Lewis Seiler-directed film was pitched as a biopic of famed major league pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander, although baseball purists have long disowned the film as one that’s heavily fictionalized. Alexander was plagued with epileptic seizures, and the film never mentions the word “epilepsy,” for instance. Yet film historians have praised Ronald Reagan‘s performance as the storied pitcher, as well as Doris Day‘s take as the always uplifting, ever-loving wife Aimee.  (Associated Press)
Singing career
For a decade starting in 1948, Day had 30 top 20 singles, including “Love Somebody” and “A Guy Is a Guy,” both of which went to No. 1. Her signature song “Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)” came out in 1956 and her career extended to 2011’s album “My Heart.” (More about those two later.) (Warner Bros.)
‘Calamity Jane’ (1954)
“There never was a glibber fibber or a cuter shooter than Calamity Jane” is a line in the intro to this musically comedic western starring Doris Day. The film also starred Howard Keel as Wild Bill Hickok, and it grossed about $128 million (when adjusted for 2011 inflation).  (UCLA Film and Television Archive)
‘Young at Heart’ (1954)
Frank Sinatra‘s brooding character seems an unlikely match for Day’s bubbly (and engaged) Laurie Tuttle. But as the adage goes, opposites attract. When tragedy strikes, Old Blue Eyes finds refuge and a new-found confidence in Day’s velvet voice and loving embrace. (File photo)
‘Love Me or Leave Me’ (1955)
Day’s singing talents came in handy in 1955 when she landed the role of jazz singer Ruth Etting in the 1920s biopic “Love Me or Leave Me.” James Cagney starred opposite Day as Etting’s first husband, gangster Martin “Moe the Gimp” Snyder. (File photo)
‘The Man Who Knew Too Much’ (1956)
In 1956, Day starred with James Stewart in Alfred Hitchcock‘s “The Man Who Knew Too Much.” Her signature song, “Que Sera, Sera,” emerged from the film about a family caught up in an assassination plot while vacationing in Morocco. (File photo)
‘The Pajama Game’ (1957)
Doris Day played Babe Williams, head of the grievance committee at the Sleep Tite Pajama Factory, in the film that was adapted from a hit Broadway musical. Babe fought for her fellow employees to get a raise, but sparks (of love) fly when she and shop superintendent Sid Sorokin (co-star John Raitt) get closer. The legendary Bob Fosse staged the numbers, and Day created some memorable scenes as Raitt’s character courted hers.  (UCLA Film and Television Archive)
‘Teacher’s Pet’ (1958)
Clark Gable may want to be the pet of his teacher, played by Day, in this classic ‘50s flick, but he’ll have to jump through a few hoops first. There are homework assignments, dance lessons, and as the song goes: lots of dating and parading.  (LACMA)
‘Pillow Talk’ (1959)
The film, which yielded Day her only Academy Award nomination, probably produced one of the most iconic photos of Day used today. In the film, which was considered racy in 1959, Day is seduced by a man (Rock Hudson) whom she already knows through phone conversations but has never met. Concealing his identity, he tries to have a little fun, but ultimately falls for her.  (Associated Press)
‘Lover Come Back’ (1961)
Day and Rock Hudson found more success with romantic comedies such as “Lover Come Back,” about a pair of competing ad executives. (File photo)
‘That Touch of Mink’ (1962)
The Golden Globe-winning film co-starred Day as Cathy Timberlake, a goodhearted country girl who meets the man of her dreams, Philip Shayne (Cary Grant), after his Rolls Royce splashes her with mud on her way to a job interview. He’s rich, even cavorting with the likes of Mickey Mantle (in photo), and he wants to have a little fun. But she’s not into “fun” and wants a deeper relationship before getting into “that.” Something’s got to give.  ()
‘The Glass Bottom Boat’ (1966)
The comedy, directed by Frank Tashlin, sees Doris Day as Jennifer Nelson, the widowed daughter of a glass-bottom boat operator who sometimes pretends to be a mermaid to entertain guests. When not swimming around as a mermaid, however, Nelson works for NASA. She gets caught (literally, by a fishing hook) by Rod Taylor’s Bruce Templeton.

This is when hijinks ensue. Turns out Templeton is her boss, and he has designs on her. Others, however, think she’s a spy. There’s also an artifical gravity machine.  (File photo)
‘The Doris Day Show’ (1968 - 1973)
The sitcom was remarkably popular, even though it changed much over its run. Each season seemed different, going from a family theme to a single-working-woman theme, and changing major actors throughout. Doris Day remained central to the show, mostly as Doris Martin, even with the changing situations. Though CBS was set to renew the show after its fifth season, Day chose not to continue, in effect canceling it.  (MPI Home Video)
Animal rescue
Animal activist Day showed her colors in the book “The Bad & the Beautiful.” In 1971, she helped found Actors and Others for Animals, which rescues strays and mistreated animals. (Ellen Graham / Harry N. Abrams / Stewart, Tabori)
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