Day had a successful singing career as well, although Feinstein says she was “very humble and modest” about it.
“She never talked [about] or listened to her own recordings because she was so tough on herself,” says Feinstein. “For decades, she would not listen to her own work because she feared it would not be good enough and then when she did, she was sincerely surprised they were good. She was the one person who did not know what everyone else knew.”
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As a special gift to Day, Feinstein sang for her at her home, regaling her with songs such as “My Romance,” which Day sang in the 1962 version of the musical
“She was delighted when I’d sing her songs and she would mouth the words,” he says. “She was happy and content and living her life on her terms and surrounded by her close friends.”
Feinstein also sang her version of the 1967 song “Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries” as well as other hits of hers.
“She was encouraging me and snapping her fingers and nodding and swaying and kept saying, ‘more’ and ‘more,’” he recalls. “It was the most thrilling command performance I’ve ever given, and I’ve performed for presidents and royalty, but performing for her was truly thrilling.”
Day died in the early hours of Monday morning at the age of 97.
Her business manager and close friend Bob Bashara told PEOPLE Day “was fine at her birthday party.”
“For her birthday event, she was in good spirits,” Bashara said. Shortly after, Day “developed a cough and it turned into bronchitis and she was briefly hospitalized,” he continued.
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“When she came home, she began to decline and was given hospice care,” he said.
“[When she died] there were some very close friends and loved ones who were with her,” Bashara said. “She was surrounded by a few loved ones.”
Bashara added Day “died peacefully” after a fulfilling life working on films and TV shows.
“She lived by her most famous song, ‘Que Sera, Sera.’ That was her belief. Whatever will be, will be, and there is a purpose for everything that happens, and you need to get on with her life,” explained Bashara. “She always looked forward and looked for the good in whatever happened.”