How Doris Day saved her son from Charles Manson

Hollywood star Doris Day and her record producer son Terry Melcher in 1974.

Hollywood star Doris Day and her record producer son Terry Melcher in 1974. Photo: Getty

Despite her legendary status, Hollywood star Doris Day won’t be having any sort of farewell after her death on Monday at the age of 97.

In her will, the six-time Golden Globe winner specified “no funeral, no memorial and no [grave] marker,” Day’s manager and long-time friend Bob Bashara said.

The reason? The Pillow Talk star didn’t “like to talk about” her own passing, said Bashara: “She didn’t like death.”

But she had good instincts for it, according to a bombshell claim in a 2016 memoir written by Beach Boys’ singer Mike Love.

Day may have saved her only child, record producer Terry Melcher, from being killed by Charles Manson, one of the US’s most infamous serial killers, Love wrote in Good Vibrations: My Life as a Beach Boy.

The singer recounted how Day made Melcher move out of his home in Benedict Canyon, Los Angeles, months before Manson’s followers killed pregnant actor Sharon Tate and four others there in 1969.

Love recounted how his drummer bandmate Dennis Wilson introduced “many” of his circle, including Melcher, to Manson.

Soon the self-proclaimed leader of the ‘Manson Family’ was heading out to clubs with Melcher and Wilson.

Candice Bergen Terry Melcher

Candice Bergen and Terry Melcher in November 1968. Photo: Getty

“Manson was also in the car one day when Dennis dropped Terry off at his rented home at 10050 Cielo Drive, at the top of a steep hill in the Benedict Canyon area,” Love wrote.

At the time, Melcher – who produced the Byrds’ first two albums Mr Tambourine Man and Turn! Turn! – was living at the house with his then girlfriend, actor Candice Bergen.

Manson wanted to be a rock star and in 1968 the Beach Boys recorded one of his songs, Cease to Exist, as a B-side single without crediting Manson.

The next year, Melcher started visiting him at his ranch, Love wrote.

But Melcher, who died in 2004, “made it clear” he didn’t think Manson had talent and wouldn’t help launch his career.

“Manson wouldn’t stand for it,” Love wrote in his memoir.

“Consumed by rage and seeking revenge against a corrupt society, he convinced his followers that the apocalypse was coming in a bloody race war, at the end of which he and his disciples would take over.”

Terry Melcher

Melcher during the LA grand jury probe into the Tate murders. Photo: Getty

Manson decided his first victims would be the occupants of the luxury French country-style home at 10050 Cielo Drive,

But Melcher had moved in January 1969 to a home owned by his Calamity Jane star mother.

“The move was no accident,” wrote Love.

“Terry, Doris’s only child, was extremely close to his mom.

“He had told her about Manson – and about some of his scary antics, his brandishing of knives, his zombie followers — and that Manson had been to the house on Cielo.”

Doris Day Terry Melcher

Dan and her son in January 1989 at the Golden Globes. Photo: Getty

When the Cielo Drive property was vacated, Tate and her husband Roman Polanski moved in.

On August 9, 1969, Manson followers murdered Tate, 26, who was eight months pregnant with son Paul.

Killed with Tate were three friends and a student visiting the caretaker of the property.

Love said it was Day’s insistence that led to Melcher moving from the death house: “A mother’s intuition, perhaps, and it may have saved his life.”

Manson was convicted in 1971 of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder for the deaths of seven people.

His original death sentence was commuted to life in 1972. Manson died at California State Prison in November 2017 at age 83.

Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, set in Los Angeles in 1969, stars Australians Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate and Damon Herriman as Charles Manson.

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