Days after Doris Day‘s death at 97, her grandson is speaking out, claiming he wasn’t allowed to see his grandmother in the last years of her life.
Ryan Melcher, the son of Day’s only child Terry Melcher, wrote a lengthy Facebook post alleging that Day’s business manager barred him from seeing his grandmother after the two had arranged a dinner following his father’s death. Melcher alleged that Day’s manager wanted to know what his intentions were and then denied him from seeing the Hollywood icon.
“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 wrote. “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.”
Bob Bashara, Day’s foundation manager since 2009, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Charley Cullen Walters, who is not Day’s business manager but was brought on to work on her 2011 album My Heart and handled her publicity, tells PEOPLE, “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.”
“When asked about family with media, Doris would decline to answer so I never pushed it,” he says. “I always hoped for a reunion between them.”
“Doris was one of a kind,” Walters continued. “I was brought on to help her with publicity when she preparing My Heart, an album of her unreleased music. It was incredible to me that she hadn’t appeared in public since the 1989 Golden Globes and hadn’t appeared on camera since an Entertainment Tonight interview in 1994. In a sense, our job was to protect her instead of promote her, as she wasn’t a person who craved the spotlight or any attention. In the rare media interviews we did, the focus was always about her foundation, her true passion.”
Melcher wrote that he was choosing to speak up to help other families going through the same thing, and encourage them to try their hardest to reconnect.
“I will forever be grateful for the time I had with both my father and my grandmother,” Melcher wrote. “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.”
RELATED: Doris Day ‘Died Peacefully’ Surrounded by Her ‘Loved Ones,’ Says Manager
Day died at 1 a.m. on Monday at her home in California. Her death comes nearly two months after the actress celebrated her birthday and shared a recent photo with PEOPLE.
For Day, as she told PEOPLE in 2011, her greatest loss in life was the 2004 death (from melanoma) of her son, music producer Terry Melcher.
“I had him when I was , so we were like sister and brother,” said Day, who found his passing “really hard. But I keep him with me.”
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