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Also Known As: Laraine Johnson, Laraine Johnson Died: November 10, 2007
Born: October 13, 1920 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Roosevelt, Utah, USA Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A pretty lead of the 1940s and 50s, usually as a brunette, Day was less vivacious than the typical 'girl-next-door' but generally played sweet personable types. After experience with the Long Beach Players, she made her feature debut in King Vidor's classic "mother love" melodrama, "Stella Dallas" (1937). Briefly working under her birth name Laraine Johnson, Day played several leads in "B" Westerns and actioners before joining MGM in 1939. She found success quickly when she joined the cast of the studio's modestly produced but immensely popular "Dr. Kildare" films starring Lew Ayres. Indeed, for many filmgoers Day's best-remembered niche in the annals of popular culture came during her three-year tenure as the hero's requisite romantic interest, Nurse Mary Lamont. Despite occasional duds like "Kathleen" (1941), Day's status rose quickly, and she scored well on a poll as one of Hollywood's most promising leads. Always conveying an intelligent and forthright presence, Day was very likable as the leading lady of Hitchcock's splendidly suspenseful "Foreign Correspondent" (1940). That film, though, would prove to be one of her few important credits; Day rarely got to work with Hollywood's best...

A pretty lead of the 1940s and 50s, usually as a brunette, Day was less vivacious than the typical 'girl-next-door' but generally played sweet personable types. After experience with the Long Beach Players, she made her feature debut in King Vidor's classic "mother love" melodrama, "Stella Dallas" (1937). Briefly working under her birth name Laraine Johnson, Day played several leads in "B" Westerns and actioners before joining MGM in 1939. She found success quickly when she joined the cast of the studio's modestly produced but immensely popular "Dr. Kildare" films starring Lew Ayres. Indeed, for many filmgoers Day's best-remembered niche in the annals of popular culture came during her three-year tenure as the hero's requisite romantic interest, Nurse Mary Lamont. Despite occasional duds like "Kathleen" (1941), Day's status rose quickly, and she scored well on a poll as one of Hollywood's most promising leads. Always conveying an intelligent and forthright presence, Day was very likable as the leading lady of Hitchcock's splendidly suspenseful "Foreign Correspondent" (1940). That film, though, would prove to be one of her few important credits; Day rarely got to work with Hollywood's best directors and her pigeonholing as "attractive" and "ordinary" led to largely bland formula fare. Not a top star in terms of popularity or acclaim, Day nevertheless appeared in some big hits during her 40s tenure at RKO, including the Cary Grant vehicle "Mr. Lucky" (1943), the watchable if modest "Bride by Mistake" (1944) and the nostalgic "Those Endearing Young Charms" (1945). And some of her minor credits have real merit, especially the unjustly overlooked "And One Was Beautiful" (1940). Day acted opposite a number of major stars: she and Lana Turner played WACs in "Keep Your Powder Dry" (1945) and John Wayne partnered her in the expensive disaster "Tycoon" (1947). Though not typical film noir material, Day was perhaps never more memorable than in an offbeat role which used her reliable, placid quality to deceptive ends--that of the mentally unbalanced heroine of John Brahm's strikingly directed, flashback-packed "The Locket" (1946). Another noir, "I Married a Communist" (1949), though hardly a good film, is nonetheless also memorable as an unfortunate cultural index to the cruel excesses of Cold War paranoia. Day moved into TV in the 50s, performing well on "The Lux Video Theater", and "Playhouse 90". She briefly hosted a mix of talk show and dramatic vignettes with "Daydreaming with Laraine/The Laraine Day Show" (1951) and was a panelist on "I've Got a Secret". Despite her TV work and several features, the best of which was the highly enjoyable prototype of airplane disaster movies, "The High and the Mighty" (1954), Day found interests outside acting. She was active in the Mormon church she had grown up with, and she also became known as the "First Lady of Baseball" after marrying her second husband, legendary manager Leo Durocher. (Her book "Day with the Giants" is a memoir of these days.) From the 60s through the 90s Day has made occasional returns to TV, evoking memories of her past with "Murder on Flight 502" (1975). She also gave assured professional turns on series including "Hotel" and "Murder, She Wrote".

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Return to Fantasy Island (1978) Mrs Grant
2.
 Murder on Flight 502 (1975) Claire Garwood
3.
 The 3rd Voice (1960) Marian Forbes
4.
 Three for Jamie Dawn (1956) Sue Lorenz
5.
 The Toy Tiger (1956) Gwen Taylor
6.
 The High and the Mighty (1954) Lydia Rice
7.
 The Woman on Pier 13 (1950) Nan Collins
8.
 Without Honor (1949) Jane Bandle
9.
 My Dear Secretary (1948) Stephanie "Steve" Gaylord
10.
 Tycoon (1947) Maura [Alexander Munroe]
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1931:
Moved with family from Utah to Southern California
:
Acted with the Long Beach Players after her family moved to California
1937:
First film as actor, "Stella Dallas"; played a bit part; credited as Laraine Johnson
1937:
Played first leading lady roles in several "B" action films, including "Doomed at Sundown" and "The Law Commands"
1939:
Joined MGM; except for several loan-outs, worked exclusively for the studio for the next three years; adopted stage name
1939:
Acted in seven of MGM's popular "Dr. Kildare" as the title hero's fiance, Nurse Mary Lamont
1940:
Earned some notice on loan to United Artists for "My Son, My Son"
1940:
Acted in "Foreign Correspondant", directed by Alfred Hitchcock
1942:
Left MGM
:
Worked primarily for RKO
1944:
First film in color, "The Story of Dr. Wassell", directed by Cecil B DeMille for Paramount
1946:
Gave perhaps her best screen performance as a psychotic in "The Locket"
1949:
Last feature films for five years, "I Married a Communist/The Woman on Pier 13" and "Without Honor"
1951:
Starred in the short-lived ABC variety and interview show, "The Laraine Day Show/Daydreaming with Laraine"
:
Acted in such TV dramatic anthology series as "Nash Airflyte Theater", "Lux Video Theater", "Schlitz Playhouse of Stars" and "Playhouse 90"
1954:
Returned to features to play a leading role in the airplane melodrama, "The High and the Mighty"
1958:
Played the leading female role of the mother in an NBC one-hour dramatic special, an adaptation of the adventure novel, "The Swiss Family Robinson"
1960:
Last feature film to date, "The Third Voice"
1975:
First TV-movie, "Murder on Flight 502"
1986:
Guest starred on a two-part episode, the third-season premiere, of the long-running CBS mystery series, "Murder, She Wrote"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Ray Hendricks. Singer. Married in 1942; divorced in 1947; adopted three children.
husband:
Leo Durocher. Baseball manager. Married in 1947; divorced in 1960; born on July 27, 1905; died on October 7, 1991 at age 86.
husband:
Michael Grilikhes. Producer, writer. Married in 1960; produced the short-lived CBS animated program, "CBS Cartoon Theater" (1956).

Family close complete family listing

brother:
Lamar Johnson. Day's twin.
daughter:
Dana L Grilikhes. Born in 1962.
daughter:
Gigi J Grilihkes. Born in 1964.

Bibliography close complete biography

"The America We Love"
"A Day With the Giants"

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