Film legend Doris Day passes away at age 97

Doris Day was famed for her wholesome girl-next-door appeal in a string of box office hits

Her second husband told her by letter that he was leaving her after eight months.

Doris married four times and had a son, Terrence, with her first spouse Al Jorden, who was later adopted by her third husband, the late Martin Melcher, but he died in 2004. Day married a fourth time at age 52 to businessman Barry Comden in 1976.

Born Mary Ann Von Kappelhoff - a name she'd occasionally use as a punchline or inside joke in her sitcom - in Cincinnati, Ohio, Day was among the few "girl singers" of the '40s and '50s who successfully transitioned to a lasting Hollywood acting career, outdoing peers such as Rosemary Clooney.

Born to a music teacher and a housewife, she had dreamed of a dance career, but at age 12, she suffered a crippling accident: a vehicle she was in was hit by a train and her leg was badly broken. During a long convalescence, she immersed herself in the big-band sounds of Tommy Dorsey and the vocals of Ella Fitzgerald. It became her theme song, even though she had initially been reluctant to record it.

"But I never did like it".

She began her career as a big band singer in 1939 and her popularity increased with her first hit "Sentimental Journey".

Brown said later, "I'd say that next to Sinatra, Doris is the best in the business on selling a lyric". As recently as 2011, her album "My Heart" made the UK Top 10.

However, she did receive a Grammy for Lifetime Achievement in February 2008 and in her absence, Tony Bennett and Natalie Cole were on hand for the tribute, accepting the honour on Doris' behalf.

In 1953, Day took on one of her most iconic characters, playing the titular role in Western musical Calamity Jane.

Day turned nearly exclusively to comedies by the late '50s.

The vivacious blonde, who also had a successful singing career, teamed with Rock Hudson in "Pillow Talk" and other lighthearted romantic comedies including "Lover Come Back" and "Send Me No Flowers". Her final film roles came in 1968, when she starred in Where Were You When The Lights Went Out? and With Six You Get Eggroll. "I could not see myself rolling around in the sheets with a young man half my age whom I'd seduced", she recalled later. She recorded over 650 songs, while starring in a series of hit film musicals and comedies. A perfectionist, Day feared the medium's quick production pace.

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