Terry Melcher, a record producer and songwriter who aided the careers of Ry Cooder, the Byrds and the Beach Boys died Friday in Beverly Hills of melanoma. He was 62.
Melcher, the son of actress Doris Day, co-wrote the hit song “Kokomo” for the Beach Boys. The song was used in the movie “Cocktail” and was nominated for a Golden Globe in 1988 for best original song. He also performed on the Beach Boys album “Pet Sounds.”
In the early 1960s, Melcher began singing as a solo act and later paired with future Beach Boy Bruce Johnston to form the group Bruce & Terry. The pair had several hits, then went on to form the Rip Chords, which recorded the 1964 hit “Hey, Little Cobra.”
In the mid-1960s, Melcher joined Columbia Records as a producer. Working with the Byrds, he produced their top-selling version of Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man” and other hits, including “Turn, Turn, Turn.”
Melcher also produced hit songs for Paul Revere and the Raiders and worked with Gram Parsons, the Mamas and the Papas, and Ry Cooder.
He served as the executive producer of his mother’s CBS show, “The Doris Day Show,” from 1968 to 1972 and co-produced her mid-1980s show, “Doris Day’s Best Friends.”
In recent years, he worked with his mother’s projects, licensing and marketing a number of record, DVD, broadcast and video properties. Melcher also helped run his mother’s charitable activities, including the Doris Day Animal Foundation.
In 1969, his name became linked with the grisly Charles Manson murders.
Melcher once rented the home where actress Sharon Tate and a group of her friends were murdered by Manson followers. Rumors circulated that Melcher, who knew Manson, was the real target because he had turned Manson down for a record contract.
Los Angeles police discounted the rumors. Melcher had since moved to Malibu, and police established that Manson knew of his new address.
He is survived by his wife Therese, his mother and a son.
Contributions may be made to the Doris Day Animal Foundation, 227 Massachusetts Ave. N.E., Suite 100, Washington, D.C.