Doris Day may have singlehandedly saved her son from death at the hands of one of America’s most notorious serial killers, according to a new book.
The now-92-year-old actress made her only child, the late record producer Terry Melcher, vacate his rental home in Benedict Canyon, California, not long before Manson’s “family” committed the Tate murders there in 1969, Beach Boys frontman Mike Love writes in his upcoming memoir.
Love details friend Melcher’s connection to Manson in Good Vibrations, which is excerpted exclusively in this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.
According to Love, bandmate Dennis Wilson’s “inexplicable” friendship with Manson introduced the latter to many of the Beach Boys’ comrades – including Melcher. Soon, Manson began to accompany Melcher and Wilson on many of their club outings.
“Manson was also in the car one day when Dennis dropped Terry off at his rented home at 10050 Cielo Drive, at the top of a steep hill in the Benedict Canyon area,” Love writes, noting that Melcher was living in the property with his then-girlfriend, actress Candice Bergen.
In 1969, Melcher began visiting wannabe rock star Manson at his ramshackle dwelling, the Spahn Ranch – likely, Love writes, as a favor to Wilson.
Unimpressed by Manson’s singing abilities after his second trip, though, Melcher made it clear he wouldn’t aid in the now-81-year-old’s quest for stardom.
“Manson wouldn’t stand for it,” Love reveals in his memoir. “Consumed by rage and seeking revenge against a corrupt society, he convinced his followers that the apocalypse was coming in a bloody race war, at the end of which he and his disciples would take over.”
Manson picked the occupants of 10050 Cielo Drive as his first victims. But Melcher had relocated from the home in January 1969 to live in a home owned by mom Day, famous for classic films like Calamity Jane and Pillow Talk.
Writes Love, “The move was no accident. Terry, Doris’ only child, was extremely close to his mom. He had told her about Manson – and about some of his scary antics, his brandishing of knives, his zombie followers – and that Manson had been to the house on Cielo and she insisted he move out.”
Seven months later, on Aug. 9, 1969, several Manson “family” members murdered 8-months-pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four other victims at 10050 Cielo Drive. The following night, they killed Rosemary and Leno LaBianca at their home a few miles away.
Of Day’s insistence that Melcher move, Love says, “A mother’s intuition, perhaps, and it may have saved his life.”
Good Vibrations is available for purchase now.