Doris Day’s grandson has revealed he was banned from seeing her in the final days of her life by her manager.
Ryan Melcher, the son of Day’s late son Terry Melcher, said he only found out about his grandma’s death on the news and via social media.
Day died at age 97 on Monday.
Melcher said that due to his parents’ divorce, he had “not been allowed to see his grandmother for quite some time.”
However, Melcher- now a real estate agent in California — wrote on Facebook: “When I was invited by Doris to dinner a few years ago after my father’s untimely death in November 2004 (melanoma), her new business manager, a former fan, intervened and asked me to meet him at the family-owned Cypress Inn here in Carmel, California.”
He added: “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.
“Looking back, I should have said more; should have drove to her home and not let a stranger come between us, but unfortunately the tall fences and 24-hour guard under her new business manager’s direction prevented me taking a stand and reconnecting with my family. She had been so happy to talk to me and we were both excited for our upcoming dinner together just a week before, and this man was clearly manipulating the situation.”
Melcher said he would continue to remember Doris fondly thanks to his early memories of her. He would go to her home every day after school, adding: “She instilled a drive and confidence that I will carry with me the rest of my life.”
But he said: “The dinner between my grandma and I never took place. Any and all communication was cut off from that point on and I was left bewildered. I later learned that the business manager had fired all the longstanding members on my grandma’s Foundation board and appointed his direct family as the new board members. It seemed I was not the only one who had been cut out.
“I tried for some time after this to get the word out about what transpired, however ultimately decided against causing any new emotional waves for my grandmother, who by that time was late in age.
“Also, from what I had heard around the community from in-the-know people, her mind had already begun slipping so I feared my outreach would only cause more stress due to the new folks surrounding her. I could not bring myself to continue to fight an uphill battle at the expense of her wellbeing or my family’s.”
“When you’re young, you believe the adults when they say you are the problem, however no child — or adult for that matter — should be told who they can and can’t love. Especially family.
“I will forever be grateful for the time I had with both my father and my grandmother. When I was younger our family was so close and I was so fortunate to have such special people raise me. It’s taught me to live in the moment and not leave things unsaid. It’s a hard truth, however it is my truth and one I hope others can learn from.”
The Doris Day Animal Foundation confirmed the Hollywood icon was surrounded by close friends when she passed.
A statement said she “had been in excellent physical health for her age, until recently contracting a serious case of pneumonia.”
It also stated that Day made it clear that she did not want a lot of time spent on memorialising her death.
“Doris’ wishes were that she have no funeral or memorial service and no grave marker,” the statement read in part.
Her current manager, Chief Financial Officer of her foundation and friend, Bob Bashara, told People that she typically didn’t engage in conversations about death.
Day, an avid animal lover, reportedly didn’t like to talk about funeral arrangements. “She didn’t like death, and she couldn’t be with her animals if they had to be put down,” Bashara said: “She had difficulty accepting death.”
While Bashara wasn’t sure exactly why Day did not want to have a funeral, he speculated that it’s because she was a shy person despite being one of the most iconic figures in history.
It is unclear if Melcher was referring to Bashara in his Facebook post.
This story originally appearedin the NY Post and is republished here with permission