Hollywood icon Doris Day has died aged 97

Actress Doris Day is seen in a screen shot from the film

Despite withdrawing from the limelight 30 years ago, and giving her final interview in 1994, Day remained an endlessly popular cinema figure whose works continue to inspire.

Legendary Hollywood actress and singer Doris Day has passed away, aged 97.

A statement from the Doris Day Animal Foundation confirmed her passing; saying she died at her home in Carmel Valley, California.

Born Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff on April 3, 1922, Day got her start in Hollywood as a big band singer who scored her first No. 1 hit with "Sentimental Journey" in 1945. "She was surrounded by a few close friends as she passed".

After stepping away from acting, Doris dedicated her life to the welfare of animals. "I thought she was handsome". For generations of Americans, though, Doris Day was more than just a retired actress.

On the big screen, Day was nominated for an Academy Award for her starring role in 1959's Pillow Talk.

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Day received the the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004. Pictures, starting in 1948 with Romance on the High Seas, which also had her song "It's Magic" hit #2 on the pop charts and even landed her an Oscar nomination for Best Song.

Day was well-known for her love of horses, helping to fund the Doris Day Animal Horse Rescue and Adoption Center in Murchison, TX, in 2011.

Doris Day, whose career spanned radio, film, TV and, perhaps most famously, the beloved sweetly innocent "sex comedies" of the 1960s, most notably with costar and friend Rock Hudson, died today. She founded the Doris Day Pet Foundation, now the Doris Day Animal Foundation - an NGO which aims to help animals in the United States - in 1978. Instead, she turned to singing.

Day asked to have no funeral, memorial service or grave marker, her foundation said.

A cheekily playful pop song, that Day was offered after mentioning to lyricist Richard Adler she was looking for a new novelty song to record. Director Norman Jewison, who worked with Day on 1963's The Thrill of It All and Send Me No Flowers, also talked about Doris' surprising view on her obvious good looks. Her son died in 2004.

Melcher committed Day to her television series, The Doris Day Show, without her knowledge. When Manson and his followers embarked on their murderous rampage in 1969, they headed for a house once owned by Melcher and instead came upon actress Sharon Tate and some visitors, all of whom were killed.

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