Laraine Day: American actress (born: 1920 - died: 2007) | Biography
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Laraine Day
American actress

Laraine Day

Laraine Day
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American actress
Was Television presenter Actor Stage actor Television actor Writer Film actor
From United States of America
Field Film, TV, Stage & Radio Literature
Gender female
Birth 13 October 1920, Roosevelt, Duchesne County, Utah, USA
Death 10 November 2007, Ivins, Washington County, Utah, USA (aged 87 years)
Star sign Libra
Politics Republican Party
Mother: Ada May Rich
Spouse: Leo Durocher (1948-1960)
Height: 1.651 m
Long Beach Polytechnic High School
star on Hollywood Walk of Fame  
Laraine Day
The details (from wikipedia)


Laraine Day (born La Raine Johnson, October 13, 1920 – November 10, 2007) was an American actress, radio and television commentator and a former Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer contract star. As a leading lady, she was paired opposite major film stars including Robert Mitchum, Lana Turner, Cary Grant, Ronald Reagan, Kirk Douglas, and John Wayne. As well as her numerous film and television roles, she acted on stage, conducted her own radio and television shows, and wrote two books. Owing to her marriage to Leo Durocher and her involvement with his baseball career, she was known as "The First Lady of Baseball". Her best-known films include Foreign Correspondent, My Son, My Son, Journey for Margaret, Mr. Lucky, The Locket, and the Dr. Kildare series.

Early life and education

Born La Raine Johnson in Roosevelt, Utah, on October 13, 1920, she was one of eight children in a wealthy family who were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Her parents were Clarence Irwin Johnson and Ada M. Johnson. Her father was a grain dealer and an interpreter for the Ute Indian Tribes. She had a twin brother, Lamar. Her great-grandfather was early Mormon pioneer Charles C. Rich. The family later moved to California, where she began her acting career with the Long Beach Players, including her friend and contemporary Robert Mitchum. She attended George Washington Junior High School and was a 1938 graduate of Polytechnic High School in Long Beach, California.


After a talent scout spotted her with the Long Beach Players, she signed a contract with Goldwyn studios, for which she made her cinematic debut. In 1937, Day debuted on screen in a bit part in Stella Dallas. Her contract was dropped shortly thereafter because she "lacked talent". Shortly afterwards, she won lead roles at RKO Pictures in several George O'Brien westerns, in which she was billed as Laraine Johnson. In 1938, she adopted the name "Laraine Day" to honor her previous playhouse manager Elias Day, from whom she had received much of her training. During that time, she was active in establishing a playhouse in Los Angeles for Mormon actors. Ray Bradbury joined for a period of time in 1939, and she let him do some stage prop work and publicity.

In 1939, she signed with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, becoming popular and well known (billed as Laraine Day) as Nurse Mary Lamont, the title character's love interest and eventual fiancée in a string of seven Dr. Kildare movies beginning with Calling Dr. Kildare (1939), with Lew Ayres in the title role.

Her roles for other studios were often far more stimulating than those MGM gave her, including a prominent supporting part in the Irish melodrama My Son, My Son! (1940). She also starred in the Alfred Hitchcock thriller Foreign Correspondent (1940) with Joel McCrea and the psychological mystery The Locket (1946) with Robert Mitchum, Brian Aherne, and Gene Raymond. In 1941, she was voted the number one "star of tomorrow" in Hollywood. Also in 1941, she was Ronald Reagan's leading lady in the Western comedy The Bad Man starring top-billed Wallace Beery and Lionel Barrymore. That same year, she made her stage debut opposite Gregory Peck in the national theater tour of Angel Street. She was released from her contract with MGM May 1946, of her own discretion, and signed a contract with RKO in December of that year. The contract stated that she would make one film a year for five years, earning $100,000 per film. Throughout her film career, she was paired opposite major film stars, including Lana Turner, Cary Grant, and John Wayne. In the 1940s, she made guest appearances on radio in both Lux Radio Theatre and The Screen Guild Theater.

In May 1951, she began hosting a television show alternately called Daydreaming with Laraine and The Laraine Day Show. In May 1952, she was signed to a midnight-to-3 a.m. interview series with New York radio station WMGM featuring interviews related to politics, show business, and sports. She also made stage appearances in Lost Horizon, the 1973 revival of The Women, and a revival of The Time of the Cuckoo.

Personal life

Laraine Day
In Foreign Correspondent (1940)

Laraine Day's first marriage was to James Ray Hendricks, a dance band singer-turned-airport executive for the Santa Monica airport, on May 16, 1942. The couple adopted three children: Christopher, Angela, and Michelle. Day filed for divorce from Hendricks in December 1946. Day was granted an interlocutory divorce from Hendricks on January 20, 1947, which required her to wait one year before remarrying.

On January 21, 1947, Day traveled to Juarez, Mexico, where she received a second divorce decree. Later that day, she traveled to El Paso, Texas, where she married baseball manager Leo Durocher. Upon returning to California, the judge who granted Day's interlocutory divorce from Hendricks stated that the Mexican divorce she received was not legal and, since she failed to wait the one-year period for her divorce to become final, deemed her Texas marriage illegal as well. After waiting a little over a year, Day and Durocher remarried on February 16, 1948, in Santa Monica, California. After the couple moved to New York, Day read every book about baseball she could to understand the game. She became the first woman to be honored by the New York chapter of the Baseball Writers Association at their annual dinner in 1951. During her marriage to Durocher, Day was often referred to as "The First Lady of Baseball". While Durocher was managing the New York Giants, she wrote the book Day With the Giants (1952). She was also the host of Day With the Giants, a 15-minute television interview program broadcast before New York Giants home games. Day and Durocher divorced in June 1960.

On March 7, 1961, Day married television producer Michael Grilikhes, with whom she had two daughters, Dana Laraine (born November 13, 1962) and Gigi (born October 6, 1964).


Laraine Day was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). Throughout her life, she never swore, smoked, or drank any kind of alcohol, coffee, or tea. Until her death in 2007, she retained her Mormon faith, stating, "It brings me comfort in a confusing world." In 1961, she appeared with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in their production of Let Freedom Ring, which was an inspirational one-hour program dedicated to the spirit of American Freedom.


Laraine Day was, as she described herself, "very much a Republican". She was a vocal supporter of Richard Nixon, whom she later met at the 1968 Republican National Convention, citing him as the type who would "go out of his way to help the American people". She also supported Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952 and longtime Hollywood friend and former co-star Ronald Reagan in the 1980 and 1984 presidential elections, saying of both Nancy Reagan and him adoringly, "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 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 Reagans."

Later years and death

In October 1960, Laraine Day appeared in the Nixon–Lodge Bumper Sticker Motorcade Campaign in Los Angeles along with Ginger Rogers, Cesar Romero, Irene Dunne, Dick Powell, Mary Pickford, and John Payne. In the 1970s, she was the spokesperson for the Make America Better campaign and traveled across the country sharing her views on environmental issues. In 1971, she wrote a book called The America We Love. Day moved back to her native Utah in March 2007 following the death of her third husband. She died at the home of her daughter, Gigi Bell, in Ivins, Utah, from undisclosed causes on November 10, 2007. She was 87 years old. Her body was taken back to California, and on November 15, 2007, a memorial service was held at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood Hills.


During World War II the Royal Canadian Air Force 427 Lion Squadron had been "adopted" by MGM. Many of the aircraft had dedications or nose art honoring MGM's Stars. A Handley-Page Halifax bomber "Yehudi" DK226 ZL Y carried the name of Laraine Day into battle over Germany. For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Laraine Day has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6676 Hollywood Blvd.


All film and television appearances come from Internet Movie Database (IMDb) and Turner Classic Movies.

Year Title Role Notes
1937 Stella Dallas Girl at Resort and on Train Uncredited
1938 Scandal Street Peg Smith Credited as Laraine Johnson
1938 Border G-Man Betty Holden Credited as Laraine Johnson
1938 Painted Desert Miss Carol Banning Credited as Laraine Johnson
1939 Arizona Legion Letty Meade Credited as Laraine Johnson
1939 Sergeant Madden Eileen Daly
1939 Calling Dr. Kildare Mary Lamont
1939 Tarzan Finds a Son! Mrs. Richard Lancing
1939 Think First Marjorie (Margie) Smith Short
1939 The Secret of Dr. Kildare Nurse Mary Lamont
1940 I Take This Woman Linda Rodgers
1940 My Son, My Son! Maeve O'Riorden
1940 And One Was Beautiful Kate Lattimer
1940 Dr. Kildare's Strange Case Nurse Mary Lamont
1940 Foreign Correspondent Carol Fisher
1940 Dr. Kildare Goes Home Mary Lamont
1940 Dr. Kildare's Crisis Mary Lamont
1941 The Trial of Mary Dugan Mary Dugan
1941 The Bad Man Lucia Pell
1941 The People vs. Dr. Kildare Nurse Mary Lamont
1941 Dr. Kildare's Wedding Day Mary Lamont
1941 Unholy Partners Miss 'Croney' Cronin
1941 Kathleen Dr. Angela Martha "Angel" Kent
1942 A Yank on the Burma Road Mrs. Gail Farwood
1942 Fingers at the Window Edwina Brown
1942 Mister Gardenia Jones Joanne Short
1942 Journey for Margaret Nora Davis
1943 Mr. Lucky Dorothy Bryant
1944 The Story of Dr. Wassell Madeleine
1944 Bride by Mistake Norah Hunter
1945 Keep Your Powder Dry Leigh Rand
1945 Those Endearing Young Charms Helen Brandt
1946 The Locket Nancy
1947 Tycoon Maura
1948 My Dear Secretary Stephanie "Steve" Gaylord
1949 I Married a Communist Nan Lowry Collins Alternative title: The Woman on Pier 13
1949 Without Honor Jane Bandle Alternative title: Woman Accused
1954 The High and the Mighty Lydia Rice
1956 The Toy Tiger Gwendolyn "Gwen" Taylor
1956 Three for Jamie Dawn Sue Lorenz
1960 The 3rd Voice Marian Forbes
Year Title Role Notes
1951 The Nash Airflyte Theater Episode: "The Crisis"
1951 Daydreaming with Laraine Host
1951–1957 Lux Video Theatre Various roles 7 episodes
1952–1957 The Ford Television Theatre Various roles 7 episodes
1953 Double Play Co-host
1953 Willys Theatre Presenting Ben Hecht's Tales of the City Episode #1.2
1953 General Electric Theater Episode: "Hired Mother"
1955 Screen Directors Playhouse Joyce Carter Episode: "The Final Tribute"
1955 What's My Line Herself / Celebrity Panelist 2 episodes
1955–1957 The Loretta Young Show Various roles 3 episodes
1956 Celebrity Playhouse Segment: " Tomorrow We May Part"
1956 Hollywood Summer Theater
1956–1959 Playhouse 90 Various roles 2 episodes
1957 Climax! Ellen Parker Episode: "Walk a Tightrope"
1957 Schlitz Playhouse of Stars Mrs. Lorenz Episode: "Bitter Parting"
1958 Pursuit Kathy Nelson Episode: "Tiger on a Bicycle"
1958 Swiss Family Robinson Mother Television film
1958 Rendezvous Episode: "Alone"
1960 Moment of Fear Episode: "Cage of Air"
1961 Checkmate Woman Episode: "To the Best of My Recollection"
1962 Follow the Sun Aunt Charlotte Episode: " Not Aunt Charlotte!"
1962 The New Breed Vivian Cowley Episode: "A Motive Named Walter"
1963 The Alfred Hitchcock Hour Ruth Episode: "Death and the Joyful Woman"
1963 Burke's Law Lisa Cole Episode: "Who Killed Billy Jo?"
1963 Wagon Train Cassie Vance Episode: "The Cassie Vance Story"
1965 Will Banner Television film
1967 The World: Color It Happy Television film
1968 The Name of the Game Grace Jellicoe Episode: "The Taker"
1969 The F.B.I. Helen York Episode: "Gamble with Death"
1972 The Sixth Sense Marion Ford Episode: "The Heart That Wouldn't Stay Buried"
1973 Medical Center Arelene Gillette Episode: "Broken Image"
1975 Murder on Flight 502 Claire Garwood Television film
1978 The Love Boat Vera Simpson 2 episodes
1978–1979 Fantasy Island Various roles 2 episodes
1979 Lou Grant Laura Sinclair Episode: "Hollywood"
1985 Airwolf Amelia Davenport Episode: "Eruption"
1985 Hotel Mrs. Kupchak Episode: "Second Offense"
1986 Murder, She Wrote Constance Fletcher 2 episodes, (final appearance)
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 03 Sep 2022. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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