CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19/Gray News) - Cincinnati native Doris Day, whose wholesome screen presence stood for a time of innocence in ’60s films, died Monday at the age of 97.
The Doris Day Animal Foundation confirmed Day died early Monday at her Carmel Valley, Calif., home. The foundation said in an emailed statement she was surrounded by close friends and “had been in excellent physical health for her age, until recently contracting a serious case of pneumonia.”
According to our media partners at the Cincinnati Enquirer, Day was born Doris Kappelhoff in 1922 at 3475 Greenlawn Avenue in Evanston. She made her professional debut in the Pavillion Caprice at the Hilton Plaza Hotel in downtown Cincinnati.
“Legend has it she was around 15 or 16 years old. The Rapp orchestra was performing. They were auditioning singers and she was one of the finalists -- Barney was thrilled with her,” said Bob Louis, Hilton Netherland Plaza’s Director of Sales and Marketing.
Day was once one of the biggest female box office stars in American history and an accomplished, award-winning singer, who retired in her 50s to follow her dreams into animal activism and rescue.
She was awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008, and during her lifetime, three of her songs -- “Sentimental Journey,” “Secret Love" and “Que Sera Sera” -- were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
The latter two songs also won Academy Awards for Best Original Song in the 1950s.
In Sept. 2017, Cincinnati City Council named a street in Day’s honor.
Walnut Street, between Sixth and Seventh Streets, was given the honorary designation of Doris Day Way.
The star wasn’t able to make it to the ceremony, but she did send an audio message to thank her hometown.
“I was absolutely thrilled to hear that Cincinnati is honoring me with not only my own street, but my own day,” said Day. “I couldn’t believe it. I miss my hometown and have so many beautiful memories of growing up there. Oh my, I hope that Doris Day Way inspires many happy memories.”