Born Doris Mary Ann von Kappelhoff (1924-) on this day in Cincinnati, Ohio, Doris Day's near-fatal auto collision with a train as a teenager put a halt to her dreams of becoming a dancer. She turned to singing, borrowing her name from her song Day By Day.
A vivacious singer with Les Brown's Band of Renown who recorded her big hit Sentimental Journey in 1944, she emerged as a film star in 1948 with Romance of the High Seas as a last-minute replacement for the pregnant Barbara Hutton.
"I particularly loved the comedies," she reminisced in a 1996 interview. "I really enjoyed making those films, and I enjoy them better than some of the movies they're making today." Amazingly, she turned down the memorable role of Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate (1967), claiming, "it offended my sense of values."
With her trademark smile of sunshine, Day was a big star of the 50s & 60s, starring in 39 films with Rock Hudson, Cary Grant, Clark Gable, and others. Of Hudson, she once joked, "I call him Ernie, because he's certainly no Rock."
Frank Sinatra said, "Doris is so cute, she has something wonderful about her style. It kind of bubbles. I love working with her."
Always upbeat despite personal heartache, Day inspired a generation, including performer Debbie Harry who said, "Underneath her wholesome exterior beats the heart of a true sex goddess and a very strong woman."
When in doubt, choose gratitude.