Laraine Day


Actor
Laraine Day

About

Also Known As
Laraine Johnson
Birth Place
Roosevelt, Utah, USA
Born
October 13, 1920
Died
November 10, 2007

Biography

Beloved by sports fans as The First Lady of Baseball, Laraine Day earned her first admirers in movie theatres. In addition to her extremely photogenic face, she projected degrees of charm and empathy that made her perfect to play Nurse Mary Lamont in MGM’s popular series of "Dr. Kildare" pictures. That regular exposure introduced the Utah native to many filmgoers, but it was also emblema...

Photos & Videos

Foreign Correspondent - Movie Poster
The High and the Mighty - Movie Poster
Dr. Kildare's Strange Case - Glass Slide

Family & Companions

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

Bibliography

"The America We Love"
Laraine Day (1952)
"A Day With the Giants"
Laraine Day (1952)

Biography

Beloved by sports fans as The First Lady of Baseball, Laraine Day earned her first admirers in movie theatres. In addition to her extremely photogenic face, she projected degrees of charm and empathy that made her perfect to play Nurse Mary Lamont in MGM’s popular series of "Dr. Kildare" pictures. That regular exposure introduced the Utah native to many filmgoers, but it was also emblematic of the insubstantial fare the studio relegated her to. Day had her best parts when working for other companies, including Alfred Hitchcock’s superb thriller "Foreign Correspondent" (1940) and the film noir outing "The Locket" (1946), which offered her a major image change as a thief who drives men to their deaths. Although that performance might have opened more doors for her, Day’s marriage to New York Giants manager Leo Durocher brought about an unexpected career shift. Adopting her husband’s love of baseball, Day became involved with two television programs dedicated to the game and she was among the first female TV personalities to regularly cover sports. Although she co-starred in "The High and the Mighty" (1954) and on various TV programs in the years that followed, Day was content to spend the majority of her time away from show business, attending to her family and the Mormon church. Aptly described by The New York Times as a "B+ Movie Star," Day rarely appeared in top-flight motion pictures, but her sincerity and wholesome appeal as a performer added much to the ones she did grace.

Laraine Day was born Laraine (or La Raine, according to some sources) Johnson on Oct. 13, 1920 in Roosevelt, UT. The seventh child in a well-to-do Mormon family, she had a twin brother named Lamar. The Day family eventually relocated to Long Beach, CA and she was a student at Washington Junior High School and Polytechnic High School. During this period, Day earned her first acting experience as a member of the Players Guild of Long Beach. Under her birth name, Day began her film career via an uncredited bit in the Barbara Stanwyck tearjerker "Stella Dallas" (1937) and supporting roles in B-pictures like "Scandal Street" (1938) and "Border G-Man" (1938). Her beauty and poise came to the attention of Tiffany studio MGM, which offered to put the teenager under contract. Josef von Sternberg’s crime drama "Sergeant Madden" (1939) was the first credit for Day under her more familiar moniker, which she adopted in tribute to Player’s Guild manager Elias Day.

Day was added to the cast of "Calling Dr. Kildare" (1939), the second entry in MGM’s new series of films based on characters created by popular writer Max Brand. As the ever compassionate Nurse Mary Lamont, she would be featured in several more "Kildare" dramas for the company, which also gave her a part in "Tarzan Finds a Son!" (1939), another of their ongoing franchises. MGM also began loaning her out to other companies during this time, which is where Day invariably received her most interesting work. Foremost amongst these was Alfred Hitchcock’s superb thriller "Foreign Correspondent" (1940), in which she was the female lead opposite Joel McCrea as an American newspaper man tangling with Nazi spies while on assignment in England.

After that prestige project, Day returned to MGM, but the studio continued to use her predominantly in Grade B productions. "Dr. Kildare’s Wedding Day" (1941) marked the end of Day’s involvement in the series, but she was kept busy in potboilers like "A Yank on the Burma Road" (1942) as well as more interesting efforts like "Fingers at the Window" (1942) and "Journey for Margaret" (1942). That year, she married talented Big Band tenor Ray Hendricks and the couple adopted two children during their five years as man and wife. Day was farmed out to RKO for a pairing with Cary Grant in the enjoyable romantic comedy "Mr. Lucky" (1943) and Paramount enlisted her services to co-star with Gary Cooper in Cecil B. DeMille’s "The Story of Dr. Wassell" (1944). The fact that her talents were being sought out by other producers, while MGM made little use of them, grew frustrating for the actress. After completing the forgettable Lana Turner wartime picture "Keep Your Powder Dry" (1945), MGM agreed to let Day out of her contract.

John Brahm’s film noir "The Locket" (1946) offered Day the sort of meaty, offbeat role she was clearly not going to receive at Metro and it ranked among her most memorable turns. Critics took issue with the picture’s awkward flashback within a flashback within a flashback structure, but Day’s effective performance as a deeply disturbed, compulsive thief demonstrated that she was quite able to tackle darker characters. Her marriage to Hendricks came to an end in 1947, and within 24 hours of signing the divorce papers, Day wed Leo Durocher, manager of baseball’s New York Giants. The couple added two more children to Day’s growing family and her new husband’s occupation ended up becoming a major part of her life as well.

Things were less happy on the acting front. She joined Kirk Douglas in "My Dear Secretary" (1948), a pleasant yet unmemorable romantic comedy that ended up being one of her easiest movies to see in later years when its producers failed to renew the picture’s copyright. "The Woman on Pier 13" (1949) was a rather silly Communist paranoia drama-film noir and the cheap, talky melodrama "Without Honor" (1949) especially did Day no favors. She decided to explore her options on television, finding ample guest star opportunities on dramatic anthology programs. Day also served as host of the 15-minute program "Daydreaming with Laraine" (ABC, 1951) and embraced her husband’s profession with both a radio and TV program. The latter, entitled "Double Play" (1953), centered around the club, with Durocher serving as co-host. Now known as "The First Lady of Baseball," Day hoped that her participation in the program would encourage more women to become interested in the sport and she chronicled that portion of her life in the book A Day With the Giants (1952).

Returning to silver screen duties, she reunited with John Wayne in William A. Wellman’s airborne thriller "The High and the Mighty" (1954), but ultimately opted to focus almost entirely on the small screen. The actress made only three more theatrical features, the last of which, "The 3rd Voice" (1960), opened the year she was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Day and Durocher called it quits at the beginning of that decade and she married her third and final husband, producer Michael Grilikhes. Following the established pattern, the couple added another pair of children to their family. Day made occasional television appearances on various primetime shows during the 1960s and ‘70s, but was largely content to be away from the spotlight raising her children. She also devoted time to Mormon Church affairs, authored a second book, The America We Love (1971), and participated in the Make America Better project. She gave her final performance in a 1986 two-part episode of "Murder, She Wrote" (CBS, 1984-1996), the popular mystery series starring her friend and fellow Golden Age veteran Angela Lansbury. Following the death of Grilikhes on March 7, 2007, Day moved back to Utah and lived with her daughter, Gigi Bell. It was there that she died of natural causes just over eight months later on Nov. 10, 2007.

By John Charles

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

Return to Fantasy Island (1978)
Murder on Flight 502 (1975)
The 3rd Voice (1960)
Marian Forbes
The Toy Tiger (1956)
Gwen Taylor
Three for Jamie Dawn (1956)
Sue Lorenz
The High and the Mighty (1954)
Lydia Rice
The Woman on Pier 13 (1950)
Nan Collins
Without Honor (1949)
Jane Bandle
My Dear Secretary (1948)
Stephanie "Steve" Gaylord
Tycoon (1947)
Maura [Alexander Munroe]
The Locket (1946)
Nancy [Monks Blair, also known as Nancy Patton]
Keep Your Powder Dry (1945)
Leigh Rand
Those Endearing Young Charms (1945)
Helen Brandt
Bride by Mistake (1944)
Nora Hunter
The Story of Dr. Wassell (1944)
Madeline
Mr. Lucky (1943)
Dorothy Bryant
Fingers at the Window (1942)
Edwina Brown
Journey for Margaret (1942)
Nora Davis
A Yank on the Burma Road (1942)
Gail Farwood
Kathleen (1942)
Dr. A.[ngela] Martha Kent
The Trial of Mary Dugan (1941)
Mary Dugan [also known as Mary Andrews]
The People vs. Dr. Kildare (1941)
[Nurse] Mary Lamont
Dr. Kildare's Wedding Day (1941)
Mary Lamont
The Bad Man (1941)
Lucia Pell
Unholy Partners (1941)
Miss Cronin
I Take This Woman (1940)
Linda Rogers
And One Was Beautiful (1940)
Kate Lattimer
Foreign Correspondent (1940)
Carol Fisher
Dr. Kildare's Strange Case (1940)
Mary Lamont
Dr. Kildare's Crisis (1940)
Mary Lamont
Dr. Kildare Goes Home (1940)
Mary Lamont
My Son, My Son! (1940)
Maeve O'Riordan
Tarzan Finds a Son! (1939)
Mrs. Richard Lancing
The Secret of Dr. Kildare (1939)
Mary Lamont
Calling Dr. Kildare (1939)
Mary Lamont
Sergeant Madden (1939)
Eileen Daly
Arizona Legion (1939)
Letty Meade
Painted Desert (1938)
Carol Banning
Border G-Man (1938)
Betty Holden
Scandal Street (1938)
Peg Smith
Stella Dallas (1937)
Girl at resort

Cast (Special)

Investigating Tarzan (1997)
The Swiss Family Robinson (1958)

Cast (Short)

Mister Gardenia Jones (1942)

Life Events

1931

Moved with family from Utah to Southern California

1937

Played first leading lady roles in several "B" action films, including "Doomed at Sundown" and "The Law Commands"

1937

First film as actor, "Stella Dallas"; played a bit part; credited as Laraine Johnson

1939

Acted in seven of MGM's popular "Dr. Kildare" as the title hero's fiance, Nurse Mary Lamont

1939

Joined MGM; except for several loan-outs, worked exclusively for the studio for the next three years; adopted stage name

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

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"

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"

Photo Collections

Foreign Correspondent - Movie Poster
Here is the American One-Sheet Movie Poster for Alfred Hitchcock's Foreign Coorespondent (1940), starring Joel McCrea and Laraine Day. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
The High and the Mighty - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for The High and the Mighty (1954). One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
Dr. Kildare's Strange Case - Glass Slide
Here is a Glass Slide for the MGM film Dr. Kildare's Strange Case (1940), starring Lew Ayres and Lionel Barrymore. Glass slides were used by many theaters to promote coming attractions during slide shows between movie screenings.
Kathleen - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for Kathleen (1942), starring Shirley Temple. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
Dr. Kildare's Crisis - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for Dr. Kildare's Crisis (1940), starring Lew Ayres and Lionel Barrymore. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.

Videos

Movie Clip

The Story Of Dr. Wassell (1944) — (Movie Clip) We Were Such Fools In China Amid a hefty opening staged by producer-director C.B. DeMille, title character Gary Cooper is sorting wounded Americans from a damaged Navy cruiser in Java, 1942, taking flak from Stanley Ridges when Laraine Day appears as Madeline, their history unknown but intense, Irving Bacon and Ottola Nesmith intrigued, Signe Hasso on the train, in The Story Of Dr. Wassell, 1944.
High And The Mighty, The (1954) - Cocktails With The Chipmunks Laraine Day as heiress Lydia is tearing into her husband Howard (John Howard) over his latest business fumbling, in their first extended conversation, overheard across the aisle by Phil Harris as gregarious Ed, Ann Doran his wife, novelist and screenwriter Ernest Gann committing to the melodrama, in The High And The Mighty, 1954.
Foreign Correspondent (1940) - May I Have Your Picture? Reporter "Haverstock" (Joel McCrea) is baffled when Dutch diplomat Van Meer (Albert Bassermann) doesn't know him, Charles Waggenheim as the assassin, and pursuit with friend Carol (Laraine Day) and fellow reporter ffolliott (George Sanders), in Alfred Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent, 1940.
Foreign Correspondent (1940) - Against The Wind Pursuing a suspect after an assassination in Amsterdam, Yank reporter Jones (a.k.a. Haverstock, Joel McCrea),with new friends (George Sanders, Laraine Day) notices something strange about one windmill in Foreign Correspondent (1940), directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
Foreign Correspondent (1940) - Repeat No Kidding American reporter "Haverstock," typing a telegram for his New York paper, suspicious of Dutch police visitors, escapes as directed by Alfred Hitchcock, then has difficulty with peaceniks Mrs. Appleby (Frances Carson) and Carol (Laraine Day), in Foreign Correspondent, 1940.
Journey For Margaret (1942) - After The Fall Of France The opening (not featuring title character Margaret O’Brien, in her first billed role), as expectant parents John and Nora (Robert Young, Laraine Day) arrive in London, 1939, having fled France, greeted by Herbert (Nigel Bruce), in MGM’s Journey For Margaret, 1942, based on real events.
Mr. Lucky (1943) - Not The Way I Do It Aiming to raise money for his gambling cruise, Joe Adams (Cary Grant), with Crunk (Alan Carney) in tow, calls on "Captain Steadman" (Gladys Cooper) at the War Relief charity, cautious Dorothy (Laraine Day), intervening, in Mr. Lucky, 1943.
Tycoon (1947) - A Habit He Picked Up Hangover-ed American engineer Munroe (John Wayne) in a fictional South American capitol, spies Maura (Laraine Day, her first appearance) entering a church, in director Richard Wallace's Tycoon, 1947.
Fingers At The Window - You Must Not Forgive A shopkeeper (Charles Wagenheim) is guided by Santelle (Basil Rathbone, not quite seen here) to pursue Edwina (Laraine Day), who is rescued by Oliver (Lew Ayres) in a terrorized Chicago, early in Fingers At The Window, 1942.
Locket, The (1946) - I See A Madwoman Still in his flashback, artist Norman (Robert Mitchum) tells of meeting wealthy Bonner (Ricardo Cortez), introduced by his secretary Nancy (Laraine Day), in John Brahm's The Locket, 1947.
Locket, The (1946) - Masochistic Curiosity Shrink Blair (Brian Aherne), in the first flashback, meets artist Norman (Robert Mitchum), who begins the second, about Nancy (Laraine Day), in The Locket, 1947, from Sheridan Gibney's original screenplay.
Locket, The (1946) - Foolish Marriages Ever so Park Avenue in the opening scene, as Mr. and Mrs. Wendell (Reginald Denny, Nella Walker) arrive at the wedding party for John (Gene Raymond) and Nancy (Laraine Day), in John Brahm's The Locket, 1946.

Trailer

Painted Desert, The - (Original Trailer) George O'Brien rides out to stop a crook from stealing a mine claim in The Painted Desert (1938).
Unholy Partners - (Original Trailer) The editor of a tabloid (Edward G. Robinson) takes money from a gangster in Unholy Partners (1941).
People vs. Dr. Kildare, The - (Original Trailer) Is nothing sacred? Even Dr. Kildare is being sued for malpractice in The People vs. Dr. Kildare (1941).
Secret of Dr. Kildare, The - (Original Trailer) Kildare (Lew Ayres) tries to help a woman suffering from psychosomatic blindness in the third of the series, The Secret of Dr. Kildare (1939).
Woman On Pier 13, The - (Original Trailer) Communists blackmail Robert Ryan into spying for them in The Woman On Pier 13 (1950) originally titled I Married A Communist.
Foreign Correspondent - (Original Trailer) A camera with gun attachment, trick windmills and a mid-ocean plane crash are some of the predicaments facing Alfred Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent (1940).
Dr. Kildare's Wedding Day - (Original Trailer) The eighth entry in the series reaches Dr. Kildare's Wedding Day (1941) but things don't work out as planned.
Dr. Kildare's Crisis - (Original Trailer) For the sixth "Kildare" movie, Dr. Kildare's marriage could be called off when the bride's brother is diagnosed with epilepsy.
Dr. Kildare Goes Home - (Original Trailer) For the fifth movie in the series Dr. Kildare Goes Home (1940) after his practitioner father collapses from overwork.
Calling Dr. Kildare - (Original Trailer) For the second "Kildare" movie, Dr. Kildare treats a gangster and falls for the man's kid sister.
Bad Man, The - (Original Trailer) Wallace Beery (Viva Villa!) returns to portraying a Mexican bandit in The Bad Man (1941) but he's really not as bad as all that.
Fingers At The Window - (Original Trailer) A magician uses hypnosis to create an army of murderers in Fingers at the Window (1942) starring Basil Rathbone.

Family

Lamar Johnson
Brother
Day's twin.
Dana L Grilikhes
Daughter
Born in 1962.
Gigi J Grilihkes
Daughter
Born in 1964.

Companions

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

Bibliography

"The America We Love"
Laraine Day (1952)
"A Day With the Giants"
Laraine Day (1952)