Doris Day, 97, dies

Cape Town - According to a statement released by the Doris Day Foundation, the Hollywood star died on Monday. 

She recently celebrated her 97th birthday on 3 April.  

TMZ reports that Doris, born Mary Ann Von Kappelhoff, died at her home in Carmel Valley, CA, surrounded by close friends. A statement by the Doris Day Foundation revealed that the actress "had been in excellent physical health for her age" but had recently contracted "a serious case of pneumonia."

Doris' life's work comprised of music, films, and animal advocacy. She began her professional singing career at the young age of 15. According to the BBC, Doris enjoyed success in films like Calamity Jane and Pillow Talk. She also had a hit in 1956 with Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be). She starred in 39 films during the span of her iconic career. 

Doris was married four times. She first married Al Jorden 1941 and divorced in 1943, after which she married George Weidler in 1946 and split a few years later in 1949. In 1951 Doris married Martin Melcher who died in 1968. Her last marriage was to Barry Comden and lasted from 1976 to 1981. She had one child, Terrence Paul Jorden (known as Terry Melcher), with first husband, Al. Terry died in 2004 of melanoma, after a long illness. This was a major blow to the star who was very close to her son. 

Doris was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush but missed the award ceremony due to a crippling fear of flying. She also turned down an honourary Academy Award and Kennedy Center Honours Award because flying to accept these in person would be impossible.

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. Her last appearance at such a public event was to pick up her Golden Globe in 1989, which was presented by her Carmel, California, neighbour and friend Clint Eastwood, reports DorisDay.com.