Born into a prominent Mormon family in Utah, Laraine Day's acting career began after her parents moved to Long Beach, California, where she joined the Long Beach Players. She appeared in her first film in 1937 in a bit part, then did leads in several George O'Brien westerns. Signing a contract with MGM, she achieved popularity playing the part of Nurse Lamont in that studio's "Dr. Kildare" series. An attractive, engaging performer, she had leads in several medium-budget films for various studios, but never achieved major stardom. She was married for 13 years to baseball manager Leo Durocher, and took such an active interest in his career and the sport of baseball in general that she became known as "The First Lady of Baseball".IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous
|Michael Grilikhes||(7 March 1961 - 9 March 2007) (his death) 2 children|
|Leo Durocher||(21 January 1947 - 1960) (divorced) 2 children|
|Ray Hendricks||(16 May 1942 - 20 January 1947) (divorced) 2 children|
Often portrayed women who were career oriented or matronly
Her Mormon faith
Had 2 adopted children from her marriage to Ray Hendricks.
Mother of Chris Durocher.
She had a twin brother, Lamar.
Her daughter, with Leo Durocher, was Melinda Michele Thompson -Durocher (January 7, 1944 - May 20, 2012) who lived in Rathdrum, Idaho and had 8 children, 18 grandchildren.
She was a committed Republican.
In the 1970s she was the head speaker of the Make America Better campaign program which was sponsored by the National Association of Real Estates Board. During the decade she made numerous speeches throughout America in relevance to enviormentalism.
She was so commited to her Mormon faith that during her lifetime she never swore, smoked, or drank any kind of alcohol, coffee or tea.
She was described by many as being very kind, intellectual, ladylike, and influential.
She had long friendships with many of her co-stars, some of which included Cary Grant, Shirley Temple, Herbert Marshall, Joel McCrea, John Wayne, Lew Ayres, Robert Young, Robert Mitchum, Marsha Hunt, and Angela Lansbury. She was also friends with actresses Fay Wray, Margaret O'Brien, Dorothy Morris, and Margaret Early.
She was a big fan of Richard Nixon and campaigned for him in the 1968 and 1972 presidential elections. She also supported Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952 and longtime Hollywood friend Ronald Reagan in the 1980 presidential election.
In the early 1940s she was a one time girlfriend of actor Glenn Ford.
She was the first choice to play Mary in It's a Wonderful Life (1946) but had to decline the role as she was already busy working on The Locket (1946). Donna Reed later got the role and coincidentally the two films were both released to theatres on December 20, 1946.
At MGM she was told that if she did Keep Your Powder Dry (1945) that she would be rewarded with the female lead in Undercurrent (1946) with Robert Taylor. When the role was given to Katharine Hepburn Laraine left MGM and never returned.
A very patriotic woman, she displayed the American flag outside her home everyday of the year. On days when the weather was unfit for the flag to be displayed outdoors she hung it within her home. During her time in Hollywood, she hosted a big BBQ at her home every July 4 and invited not just her family but many of her friends from the acting world. She was also active with the VFW as well as such organizations as The Red Cross and Paralyzed Veterans of America to name a few.
In the early 1940s she was on the Board of the Screen Actors Guild.
She was a member of The Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals group that was fervently anti-Communist and counted among its members Ginger Rogers, Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, John Wayne, Robert Taylor, Barbara Stanwyck, and Irene Dunne.
She was the photo girl of the World War II plane "Lucky Lady". A PC-3 headed by Max Pyles debuted the plane in September 1944 and Laraine, who was at the time a favorite with lonesome G.I.'s, was written asking her for a photograph to be put on the plane. Laraine immediately wrote back with an attached photo of her in a negligee and the "Lucky Lady" soon held the honor of having the highest record flights in the autumn of 1944. Her photo remained pasted on the L/gun door and the crew and Laraine frequently sent letters back and forth and she was very proud and interested to get updates about "her airplane".
Was voted America's Sweetheart of the 1940s.
She and Dean Jagger were the first Mormon actors to receive stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. They received the accolade on February 8, 1960.
In C. David Heymann's 2009 book "Bobby and Jackie: A Love Story" it claimed that Laraine had at one time been a lover of John F. Kennedy during the 1950s. Laraine's children sued Heymann on slander charges claiming that their mother never had any kind of an intimate relationship with Kennedy based on the fact that she strongly believed in the concept of marital union with her three husbands and that during the time he held office Laraine wasn't a supporter of his administration based on both his sexual escapades and liberal policies.
She is interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills Plot: Revelation, Lot 3310, Space 4.
Day 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.
In the 1950s, Day became a board member for SHARE, Inc., an organization that aids women and children suffering from developmental disabilities. She remained active as a chairwoman until her death and in her will stipulated that in lieu of flowers that donations be sent there in her memory.
Day and her third husband were instrumental in the development of the Polynesian Cultural Center in Hawaii. They also arranged for the Te Arohanui Maori Company of singers and dancers of New Zealand to tour the United States, which included a performance at the Hollywood Bowl, recorded for international distribution with Day serving as narrator.
On Sunday, July 31, 1994, Laraine accepted a posthumous award on behalf of her former husband Leo Durocher who had been chosen as an inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
Her father Clarence Irwin Johnson was the mayor of Roosevelt, Utah, a prosperous grain dealer, and worked as a government agent for the Ute Indians for twenty years.
She was a 1938 graduate of Polytechnic High School in Long Beach, California.
In 1964, she was one of many notables who attended the "Project Prayer" rally in Los Angeles.
Was an honored guest speaker for the womens division at the 1968 and 1984 Republican National Convention.
She studied acting under the instruction of acclaimed drama coach Elias Day, taking his surname as her own upon entering the field of acting.
Was Max Factor's Star of the Year, 1944.
When actress Susan Peters adopted her son in 1946, Laraine hosted her baby shower.
Her escort to her 20th birthday party at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel was Robert Stack.
Her favorite recording artist was George Shearing and she collected every album he ever made.
She was the favorite actress of President Lyndon Johnson but caused him great disappointment when he discovered she was a Republican.
I recall playing practical jokes with John Wayne. I once got a whole bunch of keys and had little tags made that said, "If lost, please return to John Wayne, RKO Studios. Reward." And I just dropped them all over town. [He got a lot of] phone calls, people showing up at the studio. He never learned who did it.
[Statement Laraine Day gave to CBS in 1968] 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.
I enjoyed working at RKO more than at MGM. At RKO the parts were better!
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.
MGM never really gave me a break. They loaned me out for leading roles, but cast me in programme pictures.
Gary (Cooper) turned out to be the surprise of my young life. He was so convincing with his stuttering, stammering awkward little boy manners. When the action called for Dr Wassell to kiss me, I got all set for a bashful boy kiss. Well, it was like holding a hand grenade and not being able to get rid of it! I was left breathless.
Hitchcock was a character. In one particularly scary scene I had to sneak down a dark corridor. When I got to the end there was Mr Hitchcock, sticking out his tongue and flapping his hands in the back of his ears. I didn't dare laugh, because the cameras were turning. But he certainly eliminated any tension I felt.
My character was the greatest challenge I ever had - a destructive young woman who's a kleptomaniac. The form of the film - flashbacks within flashbacks within flashbacks - was criticized by some reviewers of the time as too confusing. Today, though, its style is highly regarded by film historians. . . Many movie fans seem to remember me best from the Dr Kildare series but, first and foremost, I remember The Locket.
When I was on the Board of the Screen Actors Guild in the early '40s, I remember Gene Kelly at every meeting bringing up the subject of a new medium called television that was going to be important. He was adamant that the Guild should do something about it right then and nobody would pay any attention to him. I have other memories of the Guild that are very glowing, except the decision made to accept a deal that eliminated all the pictures before 1960 from any residuals to the actors who were in them. That was a crushing blow to so many of us. But then there are other things the Guild has accomplished that are all simply marvelous: the working conditions and hours are great and the health plan and pension are absolutely magnificent.
[on Ronald Reagan] Ronald Reagan makes me proud to be an American. His intelligence, capability, and Christian brotherhood are so inspiring and his way of leadership is just superb. I consider myself lucky to have been his leading lady in The Bad Man (1941) and a short subject reel and as a nation all together we are beyond fortunate to have the leadership of such fine people as the Reagan's.
[on John F. Kennedy] His liberal agenda and womanizing lifestyle are no good for America.
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