The late Hollywood legend was so much more than a talented entertainer.

By Meghan Overdeep
May 14, 2019
Doris Day Dog
Credit: Keystone-France/Getty Images

Hollywood icon Doris Day made numerous contributions to society throughout her 97 years of life. Though she will no doubt be remembered for "Que Será, Será" and her roles in films like Pillow Talk, Day also spent decades working tirelessly to improve animal welfare.

According to a Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) tribute to the late actress, Day was one of the very first stars to become a celebvocate, "using her name, voice and ability to command the attention of adoring fans to champion the cause of animal welfare."

Her good work reportedly began when she was filming Alfred Hitchcock's 1956 remake of The Man Who Knew Too Much. Day not only advocated for the animals on and around the set to receive better treatment, she also went out of her way feed local animals in need.

The starlet formalized her efforts in 1971 when she co-founded Actors and Others for Animals. In 1975 she announced that she was retiring from acting to devote her energies to animal welfare, and in 1978 founded the Doris Day Pet Foundation (now known as the Doris Day Animal Foundation). She expanded her grassroots efforts in 1987 with the Doris Day Animal League (DDAL), a nonprofit citizen's lobbying organization still thriving today as a political affiliate of the HSUS.

Doris Day Older Dog
Credit: Paul Harris/Getty Images

In 2009, a grant from the Doris Day Animal Foundation helped fund the Doris Day Equine Center at Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in Murchison, Texas, where senior horses can live out their days in peace.

"When I first met her, I was struck by how much she cared about every individual animal in need," Holly Hazard, former executive director of DDAL, told HSUS. "I was told that what everyone realizes about Doris is that while she had every opportunity to socialize with the rich and famous, she would rather spend her time finding a home for a dog in need, and she did so time and time again."

But perhaps this famous quote from Day best explains her motivations: "I've never met an animal I didn't like, and I can't say the same thing about people."

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Rest in peace Doris and thank you for all you did.