What Were Doris Day’s Most Famous Roles?

Actress Doris Day died today at 97 years old. The Hollywood icon recently contracted a bad case of pneumonia that led to her death. Learn more about Day’s acting career and her personal life ahead.

What were Doris Day’s most famous roles?

Day made a name for herself as an actress who took on wholesome roles which often involved singing. She ranked No. 1 in 1960, 1962, 1963, and 1964 among female box-office earners.

Pillow Talk official trailer, Classic Trailers | YouTube

Day starred in the 1960 film, Pillow Talk, opposite Rock Hudson, earning herself an Oscar nomination for Best Actress playing the role of Jan Morrow, an interior decorator who shared a phone line with a man she couldn’t stand, Brad Allen (Hudson).

Another one of her most famous roles came in 1953 when she starred in Calamity Jane. Day sang eight songs in the film including “Black Hills of Dakota,” “Secret Love,” and “Just Blew in From the Windy City.”

The Pajama Game saw Day play a worker at a pajama factory who fell in love with a man hired to oppose workers’ demand for a pay increase. The feature film came on the heels of a Broadway production.

In Move Over, Darling Day played a woman lost at seas for five years who made her home to find her husband had gotten remarried. She starred in the film opposite James Garner and Polly Bergen.

Doris Day
Doris Day | GAB Archive/Redferns

Alfred Hitchcock worked with Day on his film, The Man Who Knew Too Much. She starred in the film along with James Stewart. The two played a husband and wife who went after their son’s kidnapper on their own.

Day sang “Que Sera, Sera” for the film, which later became the theme song to The Doris Day Show, according to Biography. “Que Sera, Sera” remains one of Day’s most popular songs, featured in both TV and movies.

Day’s award nominations and wins

Day received one Academy Award nomination in her lifetime and many more Golden Globe nominations. She received seven Golden Globe nominations and was awarded the Henrietta Award for World Film Favorites three times. She also received the Cecil B. DeMille award in 1989.

Day’s complete list of Golden Globe nominations is as follows:

  • Golden Globe Henrietta Award for World Film Favorites (1955)
  • The Tunnel of Love (1959) – Actress in a Musical or Comedy Motion Picture
  • Pillow Talk (1960) – Actress in a Musical or Comedy Motion Picture
  • Midnight Lace (1961) – Actress in a Drama Motion Picture
  • Move Over, Darling (1964) – Actress in a Musical or Comedy Motion Picture
  • Golden Globe Henrietta Award for World Film Favorites (1966)
  • The Doris Day Show (1969) – Female TV Star

Day’s life as an animal activist

Animals were Day’s other passion besides acting.

Doris Day
Doris Day on the set of Please Don’t Eat the Daisies. |Hulton Archive/Getty Images

She founded the Doris Day Animal Foundation, formed the Doris Day Animal League, and became one of the founding members of Actors and Others for Animals in 1971.  

Doris Day’s most famous quotes

“I’ve always said that age is just a number and I have never paid much attention to birthdays, but it’s great to finally know how old I really am!” Day famously said after learning her real age when the Associated Press revealed her birth year had been reported incorrectly.

Another one of Day’s most famous quotes involves animals: “I’ve never met an animal I didn’t like, and I can’t say the same thing about people,” Day said.