Twitter pays tribute to legendary singer, actress and activist Doris Day

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Following her retirement from the screen, Doris Day became somewhat reclusive, dedicating her time to her passion for animals, founding the Doris Day Animal Foundation, in the 1970s.

The Doris Day Animal Foundation said the actress and animal rights activist, who had suffered a bout of pneumonia, died at her Carmel Valley, California home, surrounded by friends and family, multiple news outlets reported.

The foundation broke the news of Doris' death, and revealed she had been in good health until recently falling ill. This eventually evolved into the Doris Day Animal Foundation and the Doris Day Animal League, a pair of non-profits, with the latter focusing on lobbying lawmakers.

Day was one of the biggest box office draws of her era, starring in 39 films from 1948 and 1968.

Her acting credits included Calamity Jane and Alfred Hitchcock's The Man who Knew Too Much.

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Doris Day, who sang away "Que Sera, Sera" to people's hearts, and acted her way to stardom in the Golden Age of Hollywood, breathed her last at 97, leaving fans and fraternity members "sentimental" about her glorious "journey".

She was married four times, and had one son, Terry Melcher, from her third marriage.

It was songwriter Sammy Cahn who urged Day to take a chance at a film career, and she won her first movie role replacing Betty Hutton, who was pregnant, in "Romance on the High Seas". Her son died in 2004.

In reality, Day was one of the most natural born movie stars ever to grace the screen, beloved by co-stars and directors for her raw gift, honesty and charisma.

Several years ago she sent a letter of thanks to Armagh charity fundraiser Willie Nugent after hearing that he was assisting dog shelters around the world.

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Casual moviegoers who know Doris Day only from the early 1960s comedies she did with Rock Hudson (Pillow Talk, Lover Come Back) or James Garner (The Thrill of It All, Move Over, Darling) would have enough reasons to love her right there. Millions of fans thought she was lovely. In 2012, she told Terry Gross at NPR's Fresh Air that she did not understand why such an upbeat, lilting song would be in a movie about a kidnapped boy. The actress famously wore a T-shirt emblazoned with the statement: "Be kind to animals or I'll kill you" and was affectionately known as "The Dog Catcher of Beverly Hills" for her rescue and fostering efforts.

What were Doris Day's most famous roles? She fought animal testing and advocated for spay/neuter education and outreach programs in the U.S. According to her foundation, her early Spay Day program had become an worldwide event, with World Spay Day providing thousands of free or reduced-cost spay and neuter surgeries in 75 countries.

Doris starred in Pillow Talk with Rock Hudson in 1959. I think Doris is a very sexy lady who doesn't know how sexy she is. She changed her surname at the suggestion of a band leader who heard her sing "Day by Day". And then it turned out she was so at ease in front of the camera.

"He really was my buddy", Day said of her only child.

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