Doris Day would’ve celebrated her 98th birthday on April 3, 2020. The late Oscar-nominee, who passed away in 2019 at the age of 97, excelled in musicals and romantic comedies, bringing a sense of edge and humor to her squeaky-clean demeanor. Although she made only a handful of movies between 1948 and 1968, several of her titles remain classics. In honor of her birthday, let’s take a look back at 20 of her greatest films, ranked worst to best.
Born in 1922, Day got her start as a band singer, making her film debut with the musical comedy “Romance on the High Seas” (1948). He vocal talents benefited her in such films as “Calamity Jane” (1953), “Love Me or Leave Me” (1955), and “The Pajama Game” (1957), and she often sang the title tunes to her films (most famously the Oscar-winning “Que Sera, Sera” in Alfred Hitchcock‘s 1956 caper “The Man Who Knew Too Much”).
She is perhaps best remembered for three frothy romantic comedies she made with sly, square-jawed leading man Rock Hudson and sardonic sidekick Tony Randall: “Pillow Talk” (1959), “Lover Come Back” (1961), and “Send Me No Flowers” (1964). She earned her sole Oscar nomination as Best Actress for “Pillow Talk,” losing to Simone Signoret (“Room at the Top”).
Awards-wise, Day had better luck at the Golden Globes, contending for “Tunnel of Love” (1958), “Pillow Talk,” “Midnight Lace” (1960), “Billy Rose’s Jumbo” (1962), “Move Over, Darling” (1963), and for her beloved television series “The Doris Day Show” in 1969. She received their Cecil B. DeMille award in 1989 and won the World Film Favorite – Female prize in 1958, 1960, and 1963.
Tour our photo gallery of Day movies, including a few for which she should’ve received Oscar nominations.