Doris Day's grandson says he was banned from seeing her in the final years of her life by her business manager. Ryan Melcher, the son of Day's only child, Terry Melcher, said he only found out about his famous grandmother's death when it popped up on his social media feed on Monday morning.
In a lengthy Facebook post, Ryan Melcher explained that he grew up knowing his grandmother, who died of pneumonia on Monday at age 97. But upon his parents' divorce, he had not seen Day in a long time and had not spoken to the Hollywood icon at all in the last 14 years of her life.
After his father Terry's death in 2004, Ryan Melcher says his grandmother Doris invited him to dinner at her home. But the star's then-new business manager intervened and asked him to meet him at the family-owned Cypress Inn in Carmel, California, ahead of time.
Ryan Melcher recalled the bizarre meeting in his Facebook post.
"I was asked by this man: 'Why do you want to see Doris?' I was shocked not only at the question, but also that it was coming from someone who was a stranger and outsider I just responded, 'um….she is my grandmother!' He replied, 'I'm afraid you aren't going to be able to see your grandmother,' citing the divorce between my parents as his excuse."Melcher went on to explain that while he now wishes he had taken more of a stand and drove to his grandmother Doris' home anyway, he was intimidated by the "tall fences and 24-hour guard under her new business manager's direction."
Ryan Melcher said that Doris Day had been so happy to talk to him and was excited for their upcoming dinner together when he spoke to her just one week earlier, so he is convinced the manager manipulated the situation. Day's grandson said he was cut off from ever communicating with his grandmother again at that point and later learned that her manager had fired all of the members on Day's Animal Foundation board and appointed his own family as the new board members.Ryan Melcher recalled his early memories of Doris Day, saying when he was young, he was very close with the movie legend and would go to her home every day after school. The California real estate agent said his famous grandmom "instilled a drive and confidence" that he will always carry with him.
It is unclear who Melcher is referring to when speaking of Day's manager. Bob Bashara, who has been Doris Day's manager and CFO of her Animal Foundation since 2009, declined to comment on Melcher's allegations when asked by People.
But Charley Cullen Walters, who handled Doris Day's publicity for the 2011 album My Heart, said attempts were made to reach out to Day's grandson multiple times under his watch.
"We made an attempt to reach out to Ryan twice. For the 35th anniversary of the DDAF Foundation and her 90th birthday party [in 2014], and didn't get a response. I always respected it as there was a statement on his website that said he did not want to be contacted about celebrity or Hollywood."Doris Day often declined to answer when she was asked about her family in interviews, so Walters said he never pushed the issue.
"I always hoped for a reunion between them," the publicist added.
Doris Day will not have a memorial, a funeral, or even a grave marker, as previously shared by The Inquisitr. The movie legend reportedly didn't like to talk about death or the idea of her own funeral. Meanwhile, her grandson Ryan says he is grateful for the time he shared with his grandmother in his younger years.