Doris Day, the beloved actress and singer, is known for her wholesome and sunny image on screen. However, behind the scenes, she had a tumultuous personal life, including a frightening encounter with the infamous cult leader Charles Manson.
In 1969, Day’s son Terry Melcher, a successful record producer, was renting a house on Cielo Drive in Los Angeles. Manson, who was obsessed with Melcher due to a failed music career, targeted the house as a location for his cult’s infamous murder spree.
Fortunately, Melcher had moved out of the house by the time of the murders, but Day was still shaken by the close call. In fact, she reportedly received a cryptic phone call from Manson himself just a few days before the murders, warning her of impending danger.
Day immediately took action to protect her son, hiring a team of bodyguards to keep him safe. She also increased her own security measures, including installing an electric fence and training with firearms.
While Day and Melcher were both unharmed in the Manson Family’s murderous rampage, the incident left a lasting impact on Day. She reportedly became more reclusive and paranoid, and even moved to a secluded ranch in California for several years.
Despite the trauma she experienced, Day continued to work in show business, starring in films and recording music until her retirement in the 1970s. She passed away in 2019 at the age of 97, leaving behind a legacy as one of Hollywood’s most beloved stars.
In addition to her successful career in entertainment, Doris Day also had a reputation as a devoted mother to her son, Terry Melcher. Her son was a music producer and had worked with some of the biggest names in the industry, including The Beach Boys and The Byrds. He also had a connection to the infamous Charles Manson, who had aspired to become a musician and had hoped Melcher would sign him to a record deal.
In 1968, Melcher had rented a house on Cielo Drive in Los Angeles, which was later rented by Roman Polanski and his pregnant wife Sharon Tate. Manson believed that Melcher still lived at the house and directed his followers to carry out the brutal murders that took place there on August 9, 1969. Melcher had actually moved out of the house by that time, but the tragic events left Doris Day understandably shaken.
It was later revealed that Manson had specifically targeted Melcher as a way to exact revenge for not getting a record deal. Day reportedly went to great lengths to protect her son and even hired a security team to keep him safe. In a rare interview in the 1990s, Day spoke about the incident, saying, “I knew Charlie Manson and the girls around him. They used to come out to my house for parties. And one night, they came out to the house on Cielo and they had a gun and they wanted to come in, and my son wouldn’t let them in. And that’s how we found out about them.”
Day’s quick thinking and protective instincts likely saved her son’s life. While the Manson Family’s murderous rampage shook the nation and claimed the lives of several innocent victims, it’s comforting to know that at least one family was able to escape the horror.