Grandson of Hollywood movie star Doris Day says she was ‘manipulated by her manager’ before death

Estranged family and staff of Hollywood icon Doris Day say she was ‘manipulated’ throughout her life, with both sides pointing the finger at the other, as it remains unclear what will become of the nearly $5million in assets belonging to her animal welfare foundation.

In a Facebook post shared the day after she died, Day’s only grandson, Ryan Melcher, said he was kept from seeing his grandmother by manager Bob Bashara.

Ryan said that Bashara used his position of influence over Day to cut out other family members, completely replace her long-time staff with his family, and that as a result of Bashara’s efforts, Ryan had to learn of Day’s May 13 death over social media and in the news, like the rest of the public.

Ryan said Day Bashara kept him from keeping a dinner meeting that Day had requested with him following the untimely death of Day’s son and his adoptive father, Terry Melcher, in 2004, but Day’s most recent publicist, Charley Cullen Walters, said it was Day’s decision not to see Ryan.

Walters added that Day was exploited by those closest to her, but it was her ex-husbands, and not staff, that were guilty of manipulation, with Ryan’s adoptive grandfather Martin Melcher squandering her $20 million fortune.

Long-time fan of Day’s and prolific pen pal Mike DeVita echoed Walters’ thoughts on Day’s lovers, but said Day did very much want to reconnect with Ryan.

DailyMail.com attempted to reach Bashara through Day’s charity, the Doris Day Animal Foundation, of which Bashara is the CFO, but did not immediately receive a reply.

Ryan Melcher, the only grandson of late Hollywood icon Doris Day, has said she was 'manipulated' and kept in seclusion by her manager, Bob Bashara, as insiders wonder about her estate.

 

Ryan Melcher, the only grandson of late Hollywood icon Doris Day, has said she was ‘manipulated’ and kept in seclusion by her manager, Bob Bashara, as insiders wonder about her estate.

Ryan said that Bob Bashara (pictured) used his position of influence over Day to cut out other family members, and completely replace her foundation board with his family

 

Ryan Melcher (pictured) also said that as a result of Bashara's efforts Ryan was kept from seeing Day for the past 15 years

 

Ryan Melcher (right) said that Bob Bashara (left) used his position of influence over Day to cut out other family members, completely replace her long-time staff with his family, and that as a result of Bashara’s efforts Ryan was kept from seeing Day for the past 15 years

Following Day’s death, Ryan wrote a heartfelt post about how Day had impacted his life so positively at a young age, but shared how he had not seen his grandmother in years as he blamed Bashara for keeping them apart.

‘I received the news of my grandmother’s passing like many of you — I awoke and read the news in a social media feed Monday morning,’ Ryan wrote in the post shared on May 14.

‘Sadly, due to a divorce that I was thrown into the middle of while still an underaged child, I have not been allowed to see my grandmother for quite some time. 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.

‘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.’

Following Day's death, Ryan wrote a heartfelt post about how he had not seen his grandmother in years as he blamed Bashara for keeping them apart. Day is pictured in 1955

 

Following Day’s death, Ryan wrote a heartfelt post about how he had not seen his grandmother in years as he blamed Bashara for keeping them apart. Day is pictured in 1955

Ryan wrote a heartfelt post about how Day had impacted his life so positively at a young age. Day and Ryan are pictured in 1985

 

Ryan wrote a heartfelt post about how Day had impacted his life so positively at a young age. Day and Ryan are pictured in 1985

Ryan (left), his father Terry (center, Day's only son), and Day (right) are pictured when Ryan was age 12

 

Ryan (left), his father Terry (center, Day’s only son), and Day (right) are pictured when Ryan was age 12

Other staff of Day has said her ex-husbands manipulated her throughout her entire life. Day is shown with Martin Melcher, who adopted her only son Terry. Martin died in 1969

 

Other staff of Day has said her ex-husbands manipulated her throughout her entire life. Day is shown with Martin Melcher, who adopted her only son Terry. Martin died in 1969

A person who lived near Day while she was alive told the Post there is talk among insiders about what will become of her $300,000 home and the Doris Day Animal Foundation. Day is pictured in the film 'Pillow talk' from 1959

 

A person who lived near Day while she was alive told the Post there is talk among insiders about what will become of her $300,000 home and the Doris Day Animal Foundation. Day is pictured in the film ‘Pillow talk’ from 1959

Ryan shared his confusion over not being permitted to see Day, and his regret for not standing up for his family.

‘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.

‘All this to say: 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.’

The foundation had total assets of $4,586,346 as of last year, according to 2017 tax filings. Day is pictured in a scene from the movie 'Lullaby on Broadway' from 1951

 

The foundation had total assets of $4,586,346 as of last year, according to 2017 tax filings. Day is pictured in a scene from the movie ‘Lullaby on Broadway’ from 1951

Ryan said Day Bashara kept him from keeping a dinner meeting that Day had requested with him following the untimely death of his father, Terry Melcher, in 2004. Day is pictured with Rock Hudson in the film 'Send Me No Flowers' from 1964

 

Ryan said Day Bashara kept him from keeping a dinner meeting that Day had requested with him following the untimely death of his father, Terry Melcher, in 2004, but Day’s most recent publicist, Charley Cullen Walters, said it was Day’s decision not to see Ryan. Day is pictured with Rock Hudson in the film ‘Send Me No Flowers’ from 1964

DeVita, who traded more than 500 letters with the star of the silver and small screen, was also confused by the canceled dinner, he told the New York Post.

‘The story with the grandson is so weird,’ he said. ‘Doris really wanted to reconnect.’

While he couldn’t speak to what role Bashara may have played in that breakdown, he said that Day was ‘manipulated’ by those closest to her throughout her entire life, and said Bashara shared one similarity with her exes.

‘Doris was very trusting. She was manipulated all her life, usually by her husbands,’ DeVita said. ‘She was looking for the father she never had with her husbands — and even Bob.’

Day’s father reportedly had an affair the with mother of her best friend, which the star learned at the tender age of 10 while growing up in Cincinnati, Ohio.

‘This had a profound effect on her,’ DeVita said.

That experience may have impacted her relationship with men for years to come, as Day was famously married four times, widowed once and suffered three divorces.

Her first husband, band leader Al Jordan, allegedly beat her while she was pregnant with Ryan’s father, Terry. Second, she married a saxophone player named George Weidler, but that marriage ended amid rumors Weidler could not deal with Day’s fame.

Longtime Day fan and prolific pen pall Mike DeVita said that Day was 'manipulated' by those closest to her throughout her entire life, and said Bashara shared one similarity with her exes. Day is pictured with first husband, Al Jordan, who is Ryan's biological grandfather and allegedly beat her while she was pregnant with their son, Terry

 

Longtime Day fan and prolific pen pall Mike DeVita said that Day was ‘manipulated’ by those closest to her throughout her entire life, and said Bashara shared one similarity with her exes. Day is pictured with first husband, Al Jordan, who is Ryan’s biological grandfather and allegedly beat her while she was pregnant with their son, Terry

Second, she married a saxophone player named George Weidler (pictured), but that marriage ended amid rumors Weidler could not deal with Day's fame

 

Second, she married a saxophone player named George Weidler (pictured), but that marriage ended amid rumors Weidler could not deal with Day’s fame

Producer Marty Melcher (pictured), Day's third husband who adopted her son Terry, was known to have frittered away $20 million of her fortune, an unfortunate fact Day only learned upon his death in 1969

 

Producer Marty Melcher (pictured), Day’s third husband who adopted her son Terry, was known to have frittered away $20 million of her fortune, an unfortunate fact Day only learned upon his death in 1969

Day tried her hand once more at lasting love in 1976 when she married maitre d’ Barry Comden (pictured), but that ended in 1981 and Comden later admitted he had grown jealous of her love for her dogs

 

Day tried her hand once more at lasting love in 1976 when she married maitre d’ Barry Comden (pictured), but that ended in 1981 and Comden later admitted he had grown jealous of her love for her dogs

Producer Marty Melcher, Day’s third husband who adopted her son Terry, was known to have frittered away $20 million of her fortune, an unfortunate fact Day only learned upon his death in 1969.

Day tried her hand once more at lasting love in 1976 when she married maitre d’ Barry Comden, but that ended in 1981 and Comden later admitted he had grown jealous of her love for her dogs.

‘People think, because of Doris’ movies, she was always happy-go-lucky,’ DeVita said. ‘She had a lot of tragedy.’

Walters agreed Day’s husbands were bad news for the star but didn’t want to focus too much on those negative times.

‘Doris did have people who tried to take advantage of her, including her husbands. But I don’t want her to be remembered for these tragedies,’ she said.

After experiencing so much loss, Day became relatively reclusive later in her life, a former employee told the Post.

‘Doris spent most of her last 10 years in her bedroom or the kitchen. She barely used the rest of the house,’ the source said. ‘She would only want to talk about [her] dogs or hear about what fan mail she had.’

After experiencing so much loss, Day became relatively reclusive later in her life, a former employee told the Post. 'Doris spent most of her last 10 years in her bedroom or the kitchen. She barely used the rest of the house,' the source said. 'She would only want to talk about [her] dogs or hear about what fan mail she had'

 

After experiencing so much loss, Day became relatively reclusive later in her life, a former employee told the Post. ‘Doris spent most of her last 10 years in her bedroom or the kitchen. She barely used the rest of the house,’ the source said. ‘She would only want to talk about [her] dogs or hear about what fan mail she had’

'People think, because of Doris’ movies, she was always happy-go-lucky,' DeVita said. 'She had a lot of tragedy.' Day is pictured on January 19, 1961, signing her name in cement in front of then-called Mann's Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard

 

‘People think, because of Doris’ movies, she was always happy-go-lucky,’ DeVita said. ‘She had a lot of tragedy.’ Day is pictured on January 19, 1961, signing her name in cement in front of then-called Mann’s Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard

Day's most recent publicist, Charley Cullen Walters agreed Day's husbands were bad news for the star but didn't want to focus too much on those negative times. 'Doris did have people who tried to take advantage of her, including her husbands. But I don’t want her to be remembered for these tragedies,' she said .A lobby card for Alfred Hitchcock's 1956 thriller, 'The Man Who Knew Too Much', starring James Stewart and Doris Day, is shown

 

Day’s most recent publicist, Charley Cullen Walters agreed Day’s husbands were bad news for the star but didn’t want to focus too much on those negative times. ‘Doris did have people who tried to take advantage of her, including her husbands. But I don’t want her to be remembered for these tragedies,’ she said .A lobby card for Alfred Hitchcock’s 1956 thriller, ‘The Man Who Knew Too Much’, starring James Stewart and Doris Day, is shown

In Ryan’s post, he also said insiders told him Bashara had cut out the many trusted staff in Day’s life.

‘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,’ Ryan wrote.

‘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.’

A person who lived near Day while she was alive told the Post there is talk among insiders about what will become of her $300,000 home and the Doris Day Animal Foundation.

The foundation had total assets of $4,586,346 as of last year, according to 2017 tax filings.

‘There is a lot of bad feeling surrounding the last few years of Doris’ life and how friends and family were pushed out,’ the neighbor said. ‘There’s plenty of people wondering just how Bob is going to profit from all this.’

Walters had a different perspective. ‘I saw Bob protecting Doris first hand,’ she said. ‘He’s always been very careful to follow Doris’ wishes to support the foundation.’

The silver screen star left specific instructions in her will that she would not have a funeral or any commemoration of any kind, Bashara told People.

‘No funeral, no memorial and no [grave] marker,’ he said on May 13.

Day’s death was announced by her charity in an emailed statement that said she was surrounded by close friends and ‘had been in excellent physical health for her age, until recently contracting a serious case of pneumonia.’

‘Her wishes were that she have no funeral or memorial service and no grave marker,’ the statement said.

Instead, they want fans to visit the charity she founded to save animals.

The will has not yet been produced.

Day died at home in Carmel Valley, California.

DailyMail.com attempted to reach Bashara through Day's charity, the Doris Day Animal Foundation, over which Bashara is the CFO, but did not immediately receive a reply. Bashara (right) is pictured with his wife, Jan (left) and Day (center)

 

DailyMail.com attempted to reach Bashara through Day’s charity, the Doris Day Animal Foundation, over which Bashara is the CFO, but did not immediately receive a reply. Bashara (right) is pictured with his wife, Jan (left) and Day (center)

Ryan Melcher'f full Facebook post accusing Bashara of manipulation from May 14 is shown

 

Ryan Melcher’f full Facebook post accusing Bashara of manipulation from May 14 is shown

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