Why Doris Day should be remembered as a gay icon

Why Doris Day should be remembered as a gay icon

Acclaimed actor, singer and Hollywood legend Doris Day has died at the age of 97.

Born Doris Mary Ann Keppelhoff in Cincinnati, Ohio, Day become a well-known face in Hollywood films and musicals during the 1950s and 1960s.

Throughout her career, Day also became known as a gay icon for a variety of reasons, and her films hold a special place within the hearts of many LGBT+ fans.

Gay Doris Day fans hold ‘Secret Love’ close to their hearts

Day fast became a gay icon during her peak years on-screen, and that was in no small part due to her starring role in Calamity Jane. In the famed 1953 musical, Day sings the song “Secret Love,” which is often considered a gay anthem.

In the film—in which Day played a tomboy character—she sang the lines: “Once I had a secret love / That lived within the heart of me / All too soon my secret love / Became impatient to be free.”

Towards the end of the song, Day’s characters sings: “Now I shout it from the highest hills / Even told the golden daffodils / At last my heart’s an open door / And my secret love’s no secret anymore.”

The song has long been held close by members of the LGBT+ community, with many reacting to the news of her death by sharing the song.

LGBT+ fans praise Doris Day as a ‘gay icon’

One shared Day’s recording of “Secret Love” and said: “Well this is sad. A gay icon due to her films with actor Rock Hudson and this coded queer tune from Calamity Jane. Another voice from another time… RIP Doris Day.”

Another Twitter user said: “Gutted to hear of the death of the wonderful Doris Day having lived her best life to the grand age of 97. For lesbian and gay people of a certain age this song is anthemic and full of the joys of coming out.”

Why Doris Day should be remembered as a gay icon

Doris Day (Hulton Archive/Getty)

Meanwhile, another user simply said: “So sad to hear Doris Day has died. How many gay men can relate to “Secret Love”?

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