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Laraine Day

Laraine DayAKA Laraine Johnson

Born: 13-Oct-1920 [1]
Birthplace: Roosevelt, UT
Died: 10-Nov-2007
Location of death: Ivins, UT
Cause of death: Natural Causes
Remains: Buried, Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills, CA

Gender: Female
Religion: Mormon
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Actor, Talk Show Host
Party Affiliation: Republican [2]

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Foreign Correspondent

Laraine Day was a major movie star of the 1940s and '50s. Raised in Utah as part of a prominent Mormon family, she came to Hollywood as a young woman, and made her film debut with an uncredited role in Stella Dallas. Before she was famous she also played the birth-mother of Tarzan and Jane's adopted son "Boy" in Tarzan Finds a Son. Her break came in 1939, with the wildly popular "Dr Kildare" sequels. Day played Kildare's nurse -- and love interest -- in the third through ninth Kildare movies, until her character married the doctor in Dr. Kildare's Wedding Day. As Mrs Kildare, she was written out of the next, and last, Kildare feature.

In 1942, she starred with Ayres again in the underrated axe murder melodrama Fingers at the Window. Over subsequent decades, her memorable films included the flashback-within-flashback-within-flashback drama The Locket, the gangster comedy Mr Lucky, and the campy paranoia piece I Married A Communist. She was among the all-star passengers in the overwrought airliner-in-peril drama The High and the Mighty, and in Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent it was Day who encouraged Joel McCrea to give his stirring report of the air raid at the film's climax -- Hitchcock's thinly-veiled plea for America to enter World War II.

When television became a viable income source, Day found the small screen more inviting and less time-consuming than making movies, and she became primarily a TV actress. She had a 15-minute series of uplifting vignettes called Daydreaming with Laraine, and another 15-minute daily celebrity chat show called The Laraine Day Show. Married to New York Giants manager Leo Durocher, Day became one of TV's first female sports reporters when she hosted Day with the Giants, an early 1950s baseball talk show with Giants' players that aired on New York City's Channel 11.

Her last film was a low-budget thriller, The Third Voice, in 1960, but she continued taking occasional guest roles on TV series -- Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Murder, She Wrote, etc. -- through the mid-1980s.

Day also played a small part in the early success of science fiction master Ray Bradbury. They met when he was in his early 20s, and she was between films, donating her time to establishing a playhouse in Los Angeles for Mormon actors. Bradbury, though not Mormon, wangled a small role in a short play scripted by Day -- and ended up rewriting it, and authoring a few other works for the theater.

[1] Many published sources give 1917, but 1920 is the likely correct date. 1920 is the date given in the Social Security Death Index. See also Aljean Harmetz, "Laraine Day, B+ Movie Star, Dies at 87", The New York Times, 13 November 2007. Interview, "Talking with Laraine Day", Classic Images Magazine, 31 May 1996: "A lot of sources said I was born in 1917. That is incorrect. I was born in 1920. 1917 was the year the studios listed as my birth year to make me appear younger."

[2] Interview, "Talking with Laraine Day", Classic Images Magazine, 31 May 1996: "I am very much a Republican. I think that Richard Nixon is a great man and that he is very dedicated to what he does. I had the pleasure of meeting him when I attended the Republican National Convention in Miami. You can really tell that he is willing to go out of his way to help the American people. I am proud to support him as president and I wish him all the success in the world and may I also say that it was an honor to endorse him."

Brother: Lamar Johnson (her twin)
Husband: Ray Hendricks (jazz musician, m. 1942, div. 1947, two children adopted)
Leo Durocher (baseball player/manager, m. 1947, div. 1960, one son, one daughter)
Son: Christopher Durocher
Daughter: Michelle Durocher
Husband: Michael Grilikhes (screenwriter, m. 1960, d. 2007, two daughters)
Daughter: Gigi Bell
Daughter: Dana Grilikhes Nassi

    Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals
    Hollywood Walk of Fame 6676 Hollywood Blvd.

    Murder on Flight 502 (21-Nov-1975)
    The 3rd Voice (5-Mar-1960)
    The Toy Tiger (29-Jun-1956)
    The High and the Mighty (3-Jul-1954)
    Without Honor (26-Oct-1949)
    I Married a Communist (8-Oct-1949) · Nan Collins
    My Dear Secretary (12-Jan-1949) · Stephanie Gaylord
    Tycoon (27-Dec-1947)
    The Locket (20-Dec-1946) · Nancy
    Those Endearing Young Charms (27-Apr-1945)
    Keep Your Powder Dry (8-Mar-1945) · Leigh Rand
    Bride by Mistake (27-Jul-1944) · Norah Hunter
    The Story of Dr. Wassell (26-Apr-1944) · Madeleine
    Mr. Lucky (22-Jul-1943) · Dorothy Bryant
    Journey for Margaret (28-Oct-1942) · Nora Davis
    Fingers at the Window (22-Apr-1942) · Edwina Brown
    Yank on the Burma Road (19-Jan-1942) · Gail Farwood
    Kathleen (18-Dec-1941) · Dr. A. Martha Kent
    Unholy Partners (Nov-1941)
    Dr. Kildare's Wedding Day (22-Aug-1941) · Mary Lamont
    The People vs. Dr. Kildare (2-May-1941) · Mary Lamont
    The Bad Man (28-Mar-1941) · Lucia Pell
    The Trial of Mary Dugan (14-Feb-1941)
    Dr. Kildare's Crisis (29-Nov-1940) · Mary Lamont
    Dr. Kildare Goes Home (6-Sep-1940) · Mary Lamont
    Foreign Correspondent (16-Aug-1940) · Carol Fisher
    Dr. Kildare's Strange Case (12-Apr-1940) · Mary Lamont
    My Son, My Son! (22-Mar-1940)
    I Take This Woman (2-Feb-1940) · Linda Rodgers
    The Secret of Dr. Kildare (24-Nov-1939) · Mary Lamont
    Tarzan Finds a Son! (16-Jun-1939) · Mrs. Richard Lancing
    Calling Dr. Kildare (28-Apr-1939) · Mary Lamont
    Sergeant Madden (24-Mar-1939)
    Arizona Legion (20-Jan-1939) · Letty Meade

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