Who was Doris Day's son Terry Melcher, when did he die and how was he connected to Charles Manson?

14 May 2019, 11:57 | Updated: 14 May 2019, 12:12

Doris Day And Son Terry Melcher in 1974
Doris Day And Son Terry Melcher in 1974. Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

Doris Day was married four times, but she only had the one child: music producer Terry Melcher.

The Hollywood icon - who passed away on Monday (May 13) at the age of 97 - was close to her son until his death over a decade ago.

Remembering Doris Day's final TV performance

But what was Terry Melcher famous for and when did he pass away? Here's all the fascinating facts:

  1. Who was Terry Melcher?

    Terry Melcher was an American musician and record producer, who was one of the chief artists that shaped the 1960s California Sound and folk rock movements.

    He produced the Byrds' first two albums Mr. Tambourine Man and Turn! Turn! Turn!, as well as most of the recordings of Paul Revere & the Raiders and Gentle Soul.

    In the 1960s, Melcher was close with the Beach Boys, and helped connect Brian Wilson to Smile lyricist Van Dyke Parks.

    He also produced several singles for the Beach Boys in the 1980s and the 1990s, including 'Kokomo'.

  2. Who were Terry Melcher's parents?

    Doris Day and Martin Melcher
    Doris Day and Martin Melcher. Picture: Getty

    He was the only child of actress and singer Doris Day.

    His father was Day's first husband Al Jorden, and he was later adopted by her third husband Martin Melcher.

    He was named Terry (full name Terrence) by his mother, after the hero of her favourite comic strip, Terry and the Pirates.

    Before his birth, Day was planning to divorce Al Jorden due to his alleged physical abuse. However, upon hearing of his wife's pregnancy, Jorden demanded that Day get an abortion.

    Soon after giving birth, Day filed for divorce and left Terry with her mother in Ohio. After the divorce, Jorden visited his son sporadically and had little presence in his life.

  3. When did Terry Melcher die?

    On November 19, 2004, Terry Melcher passed away at his home, after being diagnosed with melanoma.

    He was aged 62, and was survived by his wife Terese, and son Ryan.

  4. Where is Doris Day's grandson Terry Melcher now?

    Ryan now works as a real estate agent in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, where his grandmother had also been living since the 1970s.

  5. What was Ryan Melcher's connection with Charles Manson?

    Terry Melcher During the Sharon Tate Murder Trial
    Terry Melcher During the Sharon Tate Murder Trial. Picture: Getty

    In 1968, Beach Boys member Dennis Wilson introduced Melcher to ex-con and musician Charles Manson.

    Manson and his "family" had been living in Wilson's house after Wilson had picked up hitchhiking Manson family members Patricia Krenwinkel and Ella Jo Bailey.

    Wilson was interested in Manson's music, and recorded two of his songs with the Beach Boys. Melcher was also interested in doing so, as well as making a film about the family and their hippie commune.

    Manson met Melcher at 10050 Cielo Drive, the home Melcher shared with his girlfriend, actress Candice Bergen, and with musician Mark Lindsay.

    Charles Manson
    Charles Manson. Picture: Getty

    Manson later auditioned for Melcher, but Melcher declined to sign him up. Melcher also abandoned the film project after witnessing Manson in a fight with a drunken stuntman.

    Wilson and Melcher soon cut their ties with Manson, which is said to have enraged the criminal. Soon after, Melcher and Bergen moved out of the Cielo Drive home.

    The house's owner, Rudi Altobelli, then leased it to film director Roman Polanski and his wife, actress Sharon Tate. Manson was said to have visited the house several times asking for Melcher.

    On August 9, 1969, the house saw the murders of Tate (who was eight months pregnant), coffee heiress Abigail Folger, hairdresser Jay Sebring, writer Wojciech Frykowski and Steven Parent by members of Manson's "family".

    Some have claimed that the house was targeted by Manson as revenge for Melcher's rejection, and that Manson was actually looking for him. However, family member Charles 'Tex' Watson has said that Manson did know that Melcher was no longer living there.

    After hearing of the murders, Melcher went into hiding, and it was reported that Manson had sent his followers to kill Melcher and Bergen.

    Melcher later require psychiatric treatment, and was said to be the most frightened of the witnesses at Manson's trial.