Doris Day, born Doris Kappelhoff, was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Day was born into a Catholic family, but never felt a deep connection with religion until she was introduced to Christian Science by her second husband. She said her new faith “brought spirituality into my life, spirituality that would sustain me through some very dark times.” She said about her conversion to Christian Science, whose adherents do not seek medical treatment for the most part because of a belief that disease can be healed with prayer,
I’d been thinking that I should be happier than I am. . . . One ought to be able to control one’s thinking instead of having depressions. . . . I didn’t want that kind of life, but I didn’t know how to change it.
Day did periodically seek medical treatment, including occasional treatment for depression and a hysterectomy due to a large intestinal tumor, and she moved away from the more fundamental Christian Science beliefs later in her life. But her relationship with her religion and God has always remained an important part of her life. She said,
I don’t have to seek God. I don’t pray. I just realize God.
Doris Day is a supporter of the Republican party, and has had a chummy relationship with at least two former Republican presidents. She acted in two movies with Ronald Reagan, and was so taken by the man that she wished they had worked together more. She said in an interview on Fox News following Reagan’s death in 2004,
I can only tell you that he was wonderful. He was a marvelous actor. He was a gentleman. We had laughs because he’s terribly funny. And we just got along great.
And in that same year she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by president George W. Bush. Even though Day suggested the president would receive more votes if he stopped hunting, she still said he would get her vote,
I’m pulling for him every step of the way.
But despite her support of the GOP, her most passionate political cause is one often associated with the liberal crowd: animal rights. She founded the Doris Day Pet Foundation (now the Doris Day Animal Foundation) in 1978 to help stray pets find homes. She also founded World Spay Day, and works with the Humane Society to help spay and neuter pets. And she is directly involved in the political process with the Doris Day Animal League, a lobbying organization on behalf of animal rights.