Doris Day got one thing settled on her 95th birthday: Her actual age
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Doris Day got one thing settled on her 95th birthday: Her actual age

Actor-singer Doris Day, who celebrated her 95th birthday on Monday, got a pleasant surprise: She realised she is actually two years older than what she always thought.

music Updated: Apr 03, 2017 20:07 IST
Doris Day,Que Sera Sera,Doris Mary Kappelhoff
A file photo of 29 January 1989 of singer Doris Day with Hollywood star Clint Eastwood at the 46th annual Golden Globe Awards in California. Eastwood won a Golden Globe for motion picture directing for his work on Bird, and Day was honoured with the Cecil B. DeMille Award for her outstanding contribution to the film industry. (AP)

To Doris Day’s many admirers, the pert and fresh-faced charmer who starred in Pillow Talk and Move Over Darling is ageless. But Day turned 95 on Monday — which is a birthday surprise to even the star herself, who has long pegged her age to a 1924 birthdate that would make her 93. Media outlets have variously reported her as between 93 and 95.

A copy of Day’s birth certificate, obtained by AP from Ohio’s Office of Vital Statistics, settles the issue: Doris Mary Kappelhoff, her pre-fame name, was born on April 3, 1922, making her 95. Her parents were Alma and William Kappelhoff of Cincinnati.

Image of a document provided by the State of Ohio Office of Vital Statistics shows Doris Mary Kappelhoff's birth certificate. Kappelhoff, known as actress Doris Day, was born April 3, 1922 and celebrates her 95th birthday Monday. (State of Ohio Office of Vital Statistics via AP) (AP)

“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 said in a statement Sunday.

She’s in excellent company with other vibrant Hollywood standouts lucky enough to reach that milestone year, including Betty White, a close friend, and Carl Reiner. “There has long been speculation and rumors about Doris’ age and we get this question a lot, looks like we finally have the answer,” said Day’s spokesman, Charley Cullen Walters. “The story I have heard the most is that at one point Doris was up for a role when quite young and her age may have been miswritten on the audition form. We don’t know if that’s correct, but if so it could’ve simply stuck for all these years.” He said Day and White had long joked about White being two years older.

“Now we know that they are actually just a couple months apart, and turns out it’s an even bigger exciting landmark than we thought,” Walters said. White was born in January 1922.

Doris and actor Cary Grant, standing in the dugout, pose with New York Yankees players. (AP)

On previous birthdays, Day has said she doesn’t care about her age but rather using the occasion to highlight her favourite cause: animals. A long-time supporter of animal welfare, Day founded the non-profit Doris Day Animal Foundation in 1978 to provide grants to projects that rescue, care for and protect animals. Among the wide-ranging recipients: a group that helps seniors and others with pet care needs; one that provides trained service dogs for veterans and others; Iowa Parrot Rescue, and Misfit Acres, a Minnesota horse sanctuary.

Watch: Doris Day Que Sera Sera

Day, who lives in Carmel, California, has effectively parlayed her fame for her mission. This year, she’s seeking to bring younger people on board with a social media campaign that asks people to post a photo or video of their pet with the hashtag #DorisBirthdayWish and the tag @ddaf_org for her foundation. The best of the submissions will be combined into a digital birthday card for her.

In this April 4, 1960 file photo, Doris, a best actress of the year nominee for her role in Pillow Talk, and her producer husband Marty Melcher, at the annual Academy Award Oscar presentations at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles. (AP)

Famous friends and admirers are among those saluting Day online. Country music star Reba McEntire tweeted that she was donating to the foundation and invited her Twitter followers to do the same.

Watch: Doris Day hit songs

Day, who started out as a big band singer, made her film debut in 1948 with Romance On the High Seas before starring in a string of smash-hit 1950s and ‘60s rom-coms. She remained a pop star as well, with hits including Whatever Will Be Will Be (Que Sera) and Secret Love.

In this Jan. 6, 1976 file photo, Doris Day sits cross legged while she answers newsmen's questions in New York, during an interview on the new book Doris Day: Her Own Story, written by A.E. Hotchner. (AP)

Pillow Talk earned her an Academy Award nomination, and she won critical acclaim for dramatic turns in Midnight Lace and Love Me or Leave Me. But Oscar gold, including the lifetime achievement award that her career justifies, hasn’t come to her. Yet Day, who once dismissed her “goody two shoes” image as “so boring,” isn’t necessarily predictable: Walters said she has been offered the honorary award several times and politely declined. She always concludes, he said, in a “classic Doris tone — ‘Never say never!’“

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First Published: Apr 03, 2017 20:07 IST