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Laraine Day Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (3) | Trade Mark (4) | Trivia (52) | Personal Quotes (11)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 13 October 1920Roosevelt, Utah, USA
Date of Death 10 November 2007Ivins, Utah, USA  (Natural Causes)
Birth NameLaraine Johnson
Nicknames The First Lady of Baseball
Sweet Laraine
The Girl Next Door
Miss Perfect Profile
The Girl with the Mechanical Smile
Height 5' 5" (1.65 m)

Mini Bio (1)

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

Spouse (3)

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)

Trade Mark (4)

Often portrayed women who were career oriented or matronly
Ladylike deameanor
Her Mormon faith
Soft voice

Trivia (52)

Had 2 adopted children from her marriage to Ray Hendricks.
Mother of Chris Durocher.
She had a twin brother, Lamar, who served as an infantry cook in the United States Army during World War II between 1942 and 1946 and later made a living as a stand up comedian for various cruise ship lines. He died on May 17, 2012 in Chico, CA at his daughter's home at age 91.
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 environmentalism.
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, Angela Lansbury, and Ronald Reagan. 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 1980/1984 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 P38 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 was the original choice to play Leona Stevenson in Sorry, Wrong Number (1948) but had to withdraw due to her work schedule in My Dear Secretary (1948). The role later went to Barbara Stanwyck.
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.
Petrine Day Mitchum, the daughter of actor Robert Mitchum, was named in honor of Laraine. She and Mitchum were costars in The Locket (1946).
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.
She was portrayed by Jud Tylor in 42 (2013).
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.
She was an honorary member of the National Federation of Republican Women along with Cyd Charisse, Rhonda Fleming, and Coleen Gray.
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.
She was considered for the female lead in Samson and Delilah (1949) but never tested.
She was a dedicated dog lover who was supportive of the Hollywood Dog Obedience Club, a non-profit organization, and in her later years was a volunteer instructor giving pupils lessons on how to properly care for their "furry friends".
Out of all her movies, she considered The Locket (1946) to be her personal favorite.
Was a Girl Scout.
Every year until her death, she traveled to her native Utah in July to partake in the yearly Pioneer Day celebrations.
In 1951, RKO Radio Pictures tried to compose a film noir entitled "The Sins of Sarah Ferry". The story was about a courthouse clerk in Binghamton, New York who finds herself falling in love with a beautiful liar whose accused of armed robbery as well as a hit run charge involving a death. The cast would have starred Laraine Day, Fred MacMurray, Yvonne De Carlo, Hugh Beaumont, Glenn Ford, Howard Duff, and Evelyn Keyes, with the studio wanting to shoot on location in Binghamton and neighboring Johnson City. This project never materialized because the plot was considered to close of a generic step-up of Double Indemnity (1944) and the studio never received a reply via phone call or standard mail from the Binghamton Courthouse or then Mayor Donald Kramer granting them permission to film on location in the area and negotiate a fair range of payment. Based on that neglect, the studio immediately canceled this project and moved on.
Endorsed George W. Bush in the 2000 and 2004 Presidential Elections.
Was born on an Indian Reservation.
Was a fan on the TV shows Touched by an Angel (1994) and 7th Heaven (1996).
She followed Ronald Reagan's career, after co-starring with him in The Bad Man (1941) and Mister Gardenia Jones (1942), long before he began running for governor or president.
Her hobbies included: gardening, dining, watching inspirational movies, listening to the radio, tennis, reading the Bible, spending time with her family, sewing, baking, sending greeting cards, doing charity work, walking her dogs, traveling, and homemaking.
In 1963 and 1964, Day joined fellow actresses Joan Caulfield, Ruth Hussey, Yvonne De Carlo, Marie Windsor, Virginia Mayo, and Maidie Norman, in making appearances on behalf of U.S. Senator Barry M. Goldwater, the Republican nominee in the campaign against U.S. President Lyndon Johnson.
In the late 1940s, she was in negotiation to star as the female lead in a film entitled "A Sinner Kissed An Angel" with Burt Lancaster but the project never came to reality for Lancaster disliked the storyline making the studio call the whole thing off.

Personal Quotes (11)

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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