Doris Day at Philips Records reception at Claridges

Doris Day at Philips Records reception at Claridges

Despite a private life full of incident - her German parents divorced when she was eight, a car crash at 14 almost ended her promising dancing career, four marriages (the first ending in violence, the second lasting only eight months), the death of her older brother when she was 34, and a work schedule that took her close to collapse - Doris Day always maintained the sweet, girl-next-door image that made her one of the most popular stars of the 1950s. Shimmeringly blonde and pretty, with an unmistakably husky voice, it was perhaps the combination of the innocent appearance and the seductively throaty singing voice which made her so appealing. Her screen persona of an intelligent, wholesome woman of unfailing optimism and understated strength of character, came to epitomise the ideal American woman of the 1950s.

Her many films include Calamity Jane (this promotional stunt by Philips Records is a nod to the hit song The Deadwood Stage) and Pillow Talk, but she was also a superb live performer with a huge catalogue of recordings over a 20 year recording career.