There are many things that are standout representations of the 1950s: white picket fences, The Cold War, full skirts à la Christian Dior, the Kennedy administration… and Doris Day. Though at first glance it might seem surprising that a mere actress would be included in such a venerable list, her star power during this decade was so momentous that we would be amiss not to include her. She is, after all, the top-ranking female box-office star of all time and is ranked sixth amongst overall performers, which includes heavy-hitters like John Wayne, Clint Eastwood and Tom Cruise.
Day’s girl-next-door personality, classic American looks and harmonic vocal chords set the standard for what many considered to be the ideal woman. She represented propriety, a ladylike charm that was nevertheless approachable and unthreatening—unlike her contemporary Marilyn Monroe. Her style—which consisted of full skirts, cinch waistlines and bleach-blonde hair that was coiffed to perfection—was only enforced by the roles she portrayed. Films like Pillow Talk, The Pajama Game and The Man Who Knew Too Much also showcased her incredible musical abilities, giving us classics like “Que Sera, Sera” and “Possess Me.” Yep, she definitely belongs on that list.