Famed actress, icon, and LGBTQ ally Doris Day died after contracting pneumonia, representatives confirmed early Monday. She was 97.
Born Mary Ann Von Kappelhoff, Day first found success as a singer in the 1930s while still in her teens.
Her body of work continues to be celebrated for its queer aesthetic at a time when outward LGBTQ storylines could not be found in mainstream Hollywood film. She played the title role in the 1953 film Calamity Jane. Her recording of the ballad “Secret Love” from the movie became a gay anthem, and her musical recordings continued to win an embrace from the LGBTQ community well into the last years of her life.
The Hollywood actress later starred in three movies alongside close friend Rock Hudson, who died of AIDS complications in 1985. She spoke about Hudson in an interview with The Advocate in 2011.
“Rock Hudson was a wonderful actor and one of the funniest men I have ever known, so you can imagine how much fun I had working with him,” she said. “One of my favorite memories was that we had nicknames for each other. He called me ‘Eunice’ and I in turn called him ‘Ernie.’”
The same year, Day wrote a letter to participants of AIDS/LifeCycle 11.
"What you're doing is so important, both to remember those gone and also to ensure those alive keep living much longer than Rock was able to," she wrote.
She continues to be a popular subject for drag performances, where hits like "Que Sera Sera" keep her role as an icon firmly in place.