Doris Day, the singer and actress with a sweet voice, whose innocent drama, musicals and romantic comedies made her a star in the 50s and 60s, passed away. She was 97 years old.

The Doris Day Animal Foundation confirmed that Doris Day died early Monday at her home in Carmel Valley, California. The foundation said it was surrounded by close friends.

“[Doris] Day was in excellent physical health for her age until she recently contracted severe pneumonia, which resulted in her death,” the foundation said in a statement sent by email.

With her voice, blond beauty and radiant smile, she was an artist known for her box office successes and recordings. It was especially seen in Pillow Talk and That Touch of Mink , and was heard in Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera) from the movie by Alfred Hitchcock The Man Who Knew Too Much ( The man who knew too much ).

But over time, she has become more than a name over a title. She represented a time of innocence and love for the general public, a universe parallel to that of her contemporary Marilyn Monroe. A recurring joke attributed to Groucho Marx and actor and composer Oscar Levant was that they had known Doris Day “before she was a virgin”.

The actress herself was not an angelic Doris Day, by choice and also by bad luck.

In Pillow Talk , released in 1959 and her first of three films with Rock Hudson, she proudly caught up with what she called “the contemporary in me”. His reference book,  Doris Day: Her Own Story , published in 1976, recounted his money problems and three failed marriages, contrasting with the happy image of his career in Hollywood.

“I have the sad reputation of being a kind girl, the virgin of America, and all that, so I’m afraid it’s shocking to some people to say it, but I firmly believe that no one should get married before have lived together, “she wrote.

She never won an Oscar, but she received a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004, when George W. Bush said it was “a good day for America when Doris Marianne von Kappelhoff of Evanston, from Ohio, decided to become an artist.

In recent years she has spent a lot of her time advocating for animal rights. Although mostly retired since the 1980s, she still had enough admirers for a collection of unreleased songs released in 2011,  My Heart , to slip into the top 10in the UK. The same year, she received an award of excellence from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. Friends and admirers have lobbied for years to earn an honorary Oscar.

Born to a music teacher and a housewife, she dreamed of a career as a dancer, but at the age of 12, she had an accident: a car in which she was struck by a train and his leg was severely fractured.

Doris Day started singing at a Cincinnati radio station, then at a local nightclub and then in New York. The singer of a band changed his name to Doris Day, in honor of the song Day After Day .

A 17-year-old marriage with trombonist Al Jorden came to an end when, according to her, he beat her when she was eight months pregnant. She gave birth to her son, Terry, in early 1942. Her second marriage was also short-lived.

Her Hollywood career began after she sang at a Hollywood party in 1947. After experiencing an early celebrity as a singer in a band and then a stint at Warner Bros, Doris Day got the best Critics of his career with Love Me or Leave Me , the story of singer Ruth Etting and her husband and gangster manager. At first she was reluctant to shoot it, but the 1955 film finally became a critical and popular hit.

Her first musical success was Sentimental Journey , in 1945, when she was barely in her twenties. Other songs she has made famous include Everybody Loves a Lover ,  Secret Love and It’s Magic .

His last film was With Six You Get Eggroll ( There is a man in mom’s bed ), a 1968 comedy about a widow and a widower and the problems they face when merging families.

Doris Day married for the fourth time at the age of 52, with businessman Barry Comden, in 1976. She lived in Monterey, California, and spent much of her time at Doris Day Animal Foundation.