In a lengthy, heart-wrenching Facebook post, Ryan Melcher – Day’s grandson from her only son, Terry Melcher – revealed he wasn’t in contact with Day for years due to Bob Bashara’s alleged interference.
Bashara declined to comment on the claims but referred Fox News to Walters, who was willing to share his perspective on the allegations.
“There are obviously two sides to every story, and I’ve only worked with Doris for 10 years, so this was a little bit before my time,” admitted Walters. “But I did clear up the story with her manager, and it’s true that they did have a conversation almost 15 years ago about them reuniting. And Bob has a different version of events.”
According to Walters, Bashara believed Melcher was “a great guy” who was eager to stay in touch with his beloved grandmother. They discussed the idea of Melcher and Day reuniting despite the family enduring a divorce.
Melcher's father and mother, actress Jacqueline Carlin, divorced in 1997.
“Doris was a very protective and very private person with everyone in her life,” Walters explained. “There have been a lot of people over the years who have taken advantage of her, including some of her ex-husbands. She was just very protective, and knowing that the family has been going through a divorce – which was something that Ryan didn’t really mention – she just said, ‘Bob, why don’t you go talk to him first.’ And he did.”
“Bob remembers the conversation being very cordial, very nice – he remembers Ryan being a great guy – and ended it with the idea that hopefully, they would be able to get together, but they didn’t make any definite plans other than he would contact Ryan later,” Walters continued. “And then, apparently a few days later some tabloid – the Globe or something like that – emerged and had this whole story, which she wasn’t sure was from Ryan or his mother, just kind of putting Doris down and it was really sad to see.”
Walters claimed that after Day spotted the gossip story, she decided to not get involved with the family drama. However, he alleged that Melcher didn’t attempt to contact his grandmother after that to clear the air.
“Unfortunately, this is a little bit of history repeating itself and Doris made the decision that maybe it was best to just stay out of that issue and the family issue, although there was never any mention that he wasn’t allowed to see her," he said. "Basically, there hasn’t been any attempt to contact her since then. There haven’t been any birthday cards, any visits, anything to me.”
Walters also alleged he went as far as to contact Melcher personally to see if he was willing to attend Day’s 90th birthday celebration. He claimed he never heard from Melcher.
“There’s also a message on his website that very clearly states that he didn’t want to be contacted with regards to celebrity and Hollywood, so we’ve always been respectful of his wishes” claimed Walters.
Walters shared he’s still unsure why Melcher would claim he was disallowed to see his grandmother after he made attempts to contact him over the years.
“It’s a bit odd to me that he would do that after her death, knowing that she was such a warmhearted — just open, loving, caring person who this is the last thing she would want. In addition to that, this is what’s sad to me is that there’s a reason Doris wanted to remain out of the public eye. It was to avoid conflict or controversy. No matter how wholesome she is — which is one of the most wholesome and ego-free people I’ve ever met — somehow dark things tend to surround her and it’s been hurtful to her in the past. And I think her solution to that was to stay secluded. And it’s something that even when I started working with her, it was a bit mysterious to me, but as I came to know her better, I completely understand it and understand it now even in her passing.”
Melcher also claimed Bashara deliberately fired board members from Day’s foundation for animals in need and replaced them with his own family members. According to Walters that’s just not true. He said that several of the original board members had to be replaced because they ultimately passed way, including Day’s former publicist, before he took on the role. He did say one of Bashara’s family members has helped with the foundation extensively.
“I can verify that I’ve worked with Bob for many years and he’s a wonderful guy who has taken really, really good care of Doris, which is not easy with all the different people that come after her,” said Walters. “All of our jobs are not really to promote her because it’s not what she wants — it’s to protect her. And Bob has done an excellent job of that from my perspective, especially with the foundation.”
Walters continued: “We are respecting Doris’ very specific wishes to not have a memorial service, but her true passion was for animals, and I believe the best way to pour positive energy toward her legacy is to help that cause via DDAF.org or really any animal-positive organization. Go love animals of any type! It’s what she would’ve wanted."
“The foundation is under really good hands,” insisted Walters. “Everything that I’ve ever done with them, they’re so careful about what they put out there, where money gets spent — it’s essentially an umbrella organization that provides help for animals and whatever else is needed, and it’s evolved over the years… she did have a very close hand in deciding where foundation dollars went, and now it’s just about preserving that legacy. But from my perspective, and I think it’s a good one because I’ve worked with her closely for 10 years, there’s no foul play there.”
According to Melcher, who said he learned of his grandmother’s passing through social media, he had wanted for a long time to reconnect with Day but was allegedly prevented to do so by Bashara.
"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,” Melcher wrote. “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 continued.
Melcher said that Bashara asked him why he wanted to see Day, to which he says he responded simply that she was his grandmother — and he says the manager told him, "I'm afraid you aren't going to be able to see your grandmother." Melcher alleged that Bashara cited his father's divorce from his mother, Jacqueline Carlin, for why he was barred from seeing Day.
"Looking back, I should have said more; should have drove [sic] 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," Melcher alleged. "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 did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment regarding Walters' claims.
Day passed away on Monday. She was 97.
Fox News' Jessica Sager contributed to this report.