Hollywood Mourns one of its Greatest Stars as Wholesome Screen Icon Doris Day Dies of Pneumonia Aged 97

Hollywood legend Doris Day has died at the age of 97.

Her death was announced by her charity, the Doris Day Animal Foundation, on Monday.

The foundation said in a statement that she was surrounded by close friends and ‘had been in excellent physical health for her age, until recently contracting a serious case of pneumonia.’

She died at her estate home in Carmel Valley, California, where she has lived in solitude for the last several decades with her dozens of pets.

The charity also revealed that ‘her wishes were that she have no funeral or memorial service and no grave marker.’ Instead, she wanted fans to donate to the charity she founded to save animals.  Amazon.com Gift Card i... Buy New $25.00 (as of 01:00 EDT - Details)

Day charmed America in the 40s, 50s, and 60s, starring in an astonishing 39 films in just 20 years. On screen, she was a bright-eyed goody two-shoes and she often referred to herself as ‘America’s virgin’.

Her personal life, however,  was marred by darker episodes.

All four of her marriages collapsed; her first husband beat her, the second left her, the third squandered her fortune and her fourth felt overlooked by her for her dogs.

She also suffered a bout of mental illness in 1950s at the height of her career.

But her greatest loss was the death of her only child, Terry, in 2004. He died aged 64 after battling melanoma.

In recent years, Day was seldom seen publicly.

In addition to starring in some of the most iconic Hollywood films of all time like Pillow Talk, Love On The High Seas and Love Me or Leave Me, Day was a Grammy-winning singer and started her career aged 15 in Les Brown’s band.

Her songs Sentimental Journey, Secret Love and Que Sera Sera have all been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Day, unlike her contemporary rival Marilyn Monroe, embodied a wholesome presence that America fell in love with.

In her biography, she wrote about in her biography, Doris Day: Her Own Story.

Her first husband beat her when she was pregnant, her second left her because he knew she would become a star and ‘didn’t want to become Mr. Doris Day’, and her third controlled her social life and career then died, leaving her in debt and forced to return to work.  Amazon.com Gift Card i... Check Amazon for Pricing.

‘I have the unfortunate reputation of being Miss Goody Two-Shoes, America’s Virgin, and all that, so I’m afraid it’s going to shock some people for me to say this, but I staunchly believe no two people should get married until they have lived together,’ she said.

Elsewhere, she wrote: ‘My public image is unshakably that of America’s wholesome virgin, the girl next door, carefree and brimming with happiness, an image, I can assure you, more make-believe than any film part I ever played.

‘But I am Miss Chastity Belt and that’s all there is to it.’

Born Doris Marianne von Kappelhoff, she grew up in Evanston, Ohio.

Her parents were a music teacher and a housewife and she dreamed of a dance career, but at age 12,  suffered a crippling accident: a car she was in was hit by a train and her leg was badly broken.

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