Born La Raine Johnson on October 13, 1920, in Roosevelt, Utah (some sources cite 1917 as her year of birth), actress Laraine Day moved with her family to southern California as a child. Day took an interest in acting as a teenager and joined the Long Beach Playhouse in the mid 1930s and entered films after being spotted by a talent scout at the age of 16. Her first role was a small, uncredited part in the tearjerker Stella Dallas (1937; with Barbara Stanwyck and John Boles). In 1938, she signed with RKO and was the female lead in three westerns: Border G-Man (1938; with George O'Brien), Painted Desert (1938; with George O'Brien), and Arizona Legion (1939; with George O'Brien). During these early films, Day was billed under her real name, Laraine Johnson, but when she signed with MGM in 1939, she changed her last name. MGM immediately put Day to work in its successful Dr. Kildare series, casting her as the doctor's love interest in Calling Dr. Kildare (1939; with Lew Ayres, Lionel Barrymore, and Nat Pendleton). Day stayed with the series through Dr. Kildare's Wedding Day (1941; with Lew Ayres and Lionel Barrymore) when her character, Nurse Mary Lamont, was killed off. Day became frustrated during her tenure at MGM with the roles offered to her. Beyond the Dr. Kildare films, the studio rarely used her, instead loaning her out to other studios, most often RKO, until her contract lapsed in 1945. Her best roles came when she was loaned out for Alfred Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent (1940; with Joel McCrea and George Sanders) and for Paramount's adventure The Story of Dr. Wassell (1944; with Gary Cooper and Signe Hasso).

Laraine DayLeo Durocher, Laraine Day, and Spencer TracyLaraine DayLaraine Day

LEFT: Early 1940s MGM photo of Laraine Day. CENTER A: With second husband Leo Durocher and actor Spencer Tracy at a baseball game in the mid 1950s. CENTER B: From a July 1955 episode of the ABC panel/game show The Name's the Same. RIGHT: Glamorous shot of Day during her television heyday in the late 1950s

Day's personal life was at times tumultuous. She married her first husband, businessman and singer Ray Hendricks, in May 1942. Although Day was a devout Mormon and did not drink or smoke, she caused a headline-making scandal in January 1947 when she obtained a quick divorce (actually an interlocutory decree) from Hendricks and married baseball player-turned Brooklyn Dodgers manager (later with the New York Giants) Leo Durocher on the next day. After Day married Durocher, she and her new husband were not permitted to live together in California until the divorce was finalized by the state a year later, so she moved to New York to live with her new husband. Following her marriage to Durocher, she became known as the First Lady of Baseball. Her film career cooled considerably after moving to New York, but she found work in early New York-based television and was frequently seen as a panelist on such early 1950s game shows as To Tell the Truth, What's My Line?, The Name's the Same, and I've Got a Secret. Day and Durocher adopted a daughter and a son during their marriage. After thirteen years of marriage, Day divorced Durocher in 1960 and wed CBS television producer Michael Grilikhes in 1961. Now over 40 and following the births of her daughters with Grilikhes in November 1962 and October 1964, Day accepted only occasional acting jobs for the remainder of her life.

the films of laraine day

Foreign Correspondent (1940)

Joel McCrea, Laraine Day, and George Sanders

With Joel McCrea and George Sanders in Alfred Hitchcock's thriller Foreign Correspondent

Dr. Kildare Goes Home (1940)

Lionel Barrymore, Laraine Day, and Lew Ayres

From MGM's sixth series entry Dr. Kildare Goes Home with Lionel Barrymore and Lew Ayres

Dr. Kildare's Crisis (1940)

Robert Young, Laraine Day, Lionel Barrymore, and Lew Ayres

With Robert Young, Lionel Barrymore, and Lew Ayres in Dr. Kildare's Crisis, the seventh film in the MGM series

Kathleen (1941)

Laraine Day and Shirley Temple

With Shirley Temple in the MGM romance Kathleen

Unholy Partners (1941)

Edward G. Robinson and Laraine Day

From the MGM crime drama Unholy Partners with Edward G. Robinson

Journey for Margaret (1942)

Laraine Day and Robert Young

With Robert Young in the MGM war drama Journey for Margaret

Bride by Mistake (1944)

Laraine Day, Edgar Buchanan, and Marsha Hunt

With Edgar Buchanan and Marsha Hunt in the RKO comedy Bride by Mistake

The Story of Dr. Wassell (1944)

Laraine Day and Gary Cooper

With Gary Cooper in the big-budget Paramount adventure The Story of Dr. Wassell. This was Day's first color film

Keep Your Powder Dry (1945)

Lana Turner, Susan Peters, and Laraine Day

Lana Turner, Susan Peters, and Laraine Day are newly enlisted WAC's in the MGM wartime comedy Keep Your Powder Dry. This was Day's last film for MGM

The Locket (1946)

Laraine Day and Robert MitchumRobert Mitchum, Ricardo Cortez, and Laraine Day

LEFT: Robert Mitchum is engaged to compulsive liar Laraine Day in the RKO noir thriller The Locket. RIGHT: With Robert Mitchum and Ricardo Cortez

The Woman on Pier 13 (1949)

William Talman and Laraine Day

With William Talman in the RKO noir thriller The Woman on Pier 13

Without Honor (1949)

Laraine Day and Dane ClarkFranchot Tone and Laraine Day

LEFT: Laraine Day is blackmailed by Dane Clark, her sleazy brother-in-law, in the then-controversial noir drama Without Honor. RIGHT: Franchot Tone is Day's lover

Toy Tiger (1956)

Jeff Chandler, Tim Hovey, and Laraine Day

From the Universal-International comedy Toy Tiger with Jeff Chandler and Tim Hovey

Follow the Sun (1961-1962 ABC TV Series)

Diane Jergens and Laraine Day

With Diane Jergens in a March 1962 episode of ABC's adventure series Follow the Sun titled Not Aunt Charlotte!

later years

Day acted relatively little from the early 1960s onward, preferring instead to raise her children. Her last films were the late noir The 3rd Voice (1960; with Edmond O'Brien and Julie London) and the made-for-television thiller Murder on Flight 502 (1975; with Dane Clark and Hugh O'Brian). She was more active on television, however, taking occasional guest-star roles on The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, and Murder, She Wrote. Widowed in 2007, Day moved to Utah to live out her remaining days with one of her daughters. Sadly, she passed away on November 10, 2007, at the age of 87. She was survived by three daughters, a son, her twin brother Lamar, and many grandchildren.

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Return to Fantasy Island (1978) with Ricardo Montalban, Adrienne Barbeau, George Chakiris, Joseph Cotten, George Maharis, Cameron Mitchell, France Nuyen, and Karen Valentine
Murder on Flight 502 (1975) with Ralph Bellamy, Polly Bergen, Dane Clark, Fernando Lamas, George Maharis, Farrah Fawcett, and Hugh O'Brian
The 3rd Voice (1960) with Edmond O'Brien and Julie London
Swiss Family Robinson (1958) with Patty Duke, Dennis Hopper, and Walter Pidgeon
Three for Jamie Dawn (1956) with Ricardo Montalban, Richard Carlson, and June Havoc
Toy Tiger (1956) with Jeff Chandler, Tim Hovey, Richard Haydn, Cecil Kellaway, and David Janssen
The High and the Mighty (1954) with John Wayne, Claire Trevor, Robert Stack, Jan Sterling, Phil Harris, David Brian, Paul Kelly, John Howard, and William Campbell
Without Honor (1949) with Dane Clark, Franchot Tone, Agnes Moorehead, and Bruce Bennett
The Woman on Pier 13 (1949) with Robert Ryan, John Agar, Janis Carter, and William Talman
My Dear Secretary (1948) with Kirk Douglas, Keenan Wynn, Helen Walker, Rudy Vallee, Alan Mowbray, and Irene Ryan
Tycoon (1947) with John Wayne, Cedric Hardwicke, Judith Anderson, James Gleason, Anthony Quinn, and Grant Withers
The Locket (1946) with Brian Aherne, Robert Mitchum, Gene Raymond, and Ricardo Cortez
Those Endearing Young Charms (1945) with Robert Young, Ann Harding, Anne Jeffreys, Lawrence Tierney, and Bill Williams
Keep Your Powder Dry (1945) with Lana Turner, Susan Peters, Agnes Moorehead, Natalie Schafer, Jess Barker, and June Lockhart
Bride by Mistake (1944) with Alan Marshal, Marsha Hunt, Allyn Joslyn, and Edgar Buchanan
The Story of Dr. Wassell (1944) with Gary Cooper, Signe Hasso, Dennis O'Keefe, Paul Kelly, and Barbara Britton
Mr. Lucky (1943) with Cary Grant and Charles Bickford
Journey for Margaret (1942) with Robert Young, Fay Bainter, Nigel Bruce, and Margaret O'Brien
Fingers at the Window (1942) with Lew Ayres and Basil Rathbone
A Yank on the Burma Road (1942) with Barry Nelson and Keye Luke
Kathleen (1941) with Shirley Temple, Herbert Marshall, and Gail Patrick
Unholy Partners (1941) with Edward G. Robinson, Edward Arnold, Marsha Hunt, and Don Beddoe
Dr. Kildare's Wedding Day (1941) with Lew Ayres, Lionel Barrymore, and Red Skelton
The People vs. Dr. Kildare (1941) with Lew Ayres, Lionel Barrymore, Bonita Granville, Red Skelton, Tom Conway, and Chick Chandler
The Bad Man (1941) with Wallace Beery, Lionel Barrymore, Ronald Reagan, Tom Conway, and Chill Wills
The Trial of Mary Dugan (1941) with Robert Young, Tom Conway, John Litel, Marsha Hunt, and Marjorie Main
Dr. Kildare's Crisis (1941) with Lew Ayres, Lionel Barrymore, Robert Young, and Nat Pendleton
Dr. Kildare Goes Home (1940) with Lew Ayres, Lionel Barrymore, Gene Lockhart, and Nat Pendleton
Foreign Correspondent (1940) with Joel McCrea, Herbert Marshall, George Sanders, and Edmund Gwenn
Dr. Kildare's Strange Case (1940) with Lew Ayres, Lionel Barrymore, Shepperd Strudwick, and Nat Pendleton
And One Was Beautiful (1940) with Robert Cummings, Jean Muir, and Billie Burke
My Son, My Son! (1940) with Madeleine Carroll, Brian Aherne, and Louis Hayward
I Take This Woman (1940) with Spencer Tracy, Hedy Lamarr, Kent Taylor, Jack Carson, and Marjorie Main
The Secret of Dr. Kildare (1939) with Lew Ayres, Lionel Barrymore, and Nat Pendleton
Tarzan Finds a Son! (1939) with Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O'Sullivan, Johnny Sheffield, and Henry Wilcoxon
Calling Dr. Kildare (1939) with Lew Ayres, Lionel Barrymore, Lana Turner, and Nat Pendleton
Sergeant Madden (1939) with Wallace Beery and Alan Curtis
Arizona Legion (1939) with George O'Brien, Chill Wills, and Glenn Strange
Painted Desert (1938) with George O'Brien
Border G-Man (1938) with George O'Brien
Scandal Street (1938) with Lew Ayres and Edgar Kennedy

Murder, She Wrote, episode Death Stalks the Big Top: Parts 1 and 2, originally aired September 28 and October 5, 1986
Hotel, episode Second Offense, originally aired October 30, 1985
Airwolf, episode Eruption, originally aired April 6, 1985
Lou Grant, episode Hollywood, originally aired December 17, 1979
Fantasy Island, episode The Wedding, originally aired November 3, 1979
The Love Boat, episode Marooned/The Search/Isaac's Holiday: Part 1, originally aired September 16, 1978
Fantasy Island, episode Return to Fantasy Island, originally aired January 20, 1978
Medical Center, episode Broken Image, originally aired September 24, 1973
The Sixth Sense, episode The Heart That Wouldn't Stay Buried, originally aired January 22, 1972
The F.B.I., episode Gamble with Death, originally aired October 19, 1969
The Name of the Game, episode The Taker, originally aired October 4, 1968
Wagon Train, episode The Cassie Vance Story, originally aired December 23, 1963
Burke's Law, episode Who Killed Billy Jo?, originally aired November 8, 1963
The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, episode Death and the Joyful Woman, originally aired April 12, 1963
The New Breed, episode A Motive Named Walter, originally aired May 8, 1962
Follow the Sun, episode Not Aunt Charlotte!, originally aired March 25, 1962
Checkmate, episode To the Best of My Recollection, originally aired December 27, 1961
Moment of Fear, episode Cage of Air, originally aired September 9, 1960
Playhouse 90, episode Dark as the Night, originally aired June 18, 1959
Rendezvous, episode Alone, originally aired December 6, 1958
The Loretta Young Show, episode Man in a Hurry, originally aired December 15, 1957
Pursuit, episode Tiger on a Bicycle, originally aired October 12, 1958
Schlitz Playhouse, episode Bitter Parting, originally aired October 25, 1957
Climax!, episode Walk a Tightrope, originally aired July 18, 1957
The Ford Television Theatre, episode Torn, originally aired May 29, 1957
Lux Video Theatre, episode Possessed, originally aired February 28, 1957
The Ford Television Theatre, episode The Women Who Dared, originally aired November 14, 1956
Playhouse 90, episode Rendezvous in Black, originally aired October 25, 1956
Lux Video Theatre, episode Now, Voyager, originally aired October 4, 1956
Celebrity Playhouse, episode Tomorrow We May Part, originally aired April 10, 1956
Screen Directors Playhouse, episode Prima Donna, originally aired February 1, 1956
Screen Directors Playhouse, episode The Final Tribute, originally aired November 16, 1955
The Loretta Young Show, episode A Pattern of Deceit, originally aired December 4, 1955
The Loretta Young Show, episode Slander, originally aired October 30, 1955
The Ford Television Theatre, episode Too Old for Dolls, originally aired February 24, 1955
Lux Video Theatre, episode Double Indemnity, originally aired December 16, 1954
The Ford Television Theatre, episode The Legal Beagles, originally aired November 25, 1954
The Ford Television Theatre, episode Turn Back the Clock, originally aired April 1, 1954
Lux Video Theatre, episode Call Me Mrs., originally aired March 11, 1954
The Ford Television Theatre, episode Double Bet, originally aired November 26, 1953
Lux Video Theatre, episode Women Who Wait, originally aired August 20, 1953
G.E. True Theater, episode Hired Mother, originally aired March 22, 1953
The Ford Television Theatre, episode So Many Things Happen, originally aired December 18, 1952
Lux Video Theatre, episode It's a Promise, originally aired September 10, 1951
Lux Video Theatre, episode Column Item, originally aired April 9, 1951
Nash Airflyte Theatre, episode The Crisis, originally aired February 1, 1951

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Watch Laraine Day's 1939 film The Secret of Dr. Kildare
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