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Terry Melcher, the ultimate California kid, died of cancer last Friday night in Beverly Hills. The Los Angeles Times described him as a "surfin'-era singer, songwriter and recording executive who produced the Byrds' No. 1 hits "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "Turn, Turn, Turn" and co-wrote the Beach Boys' "Kokomo."Melcher provided the template for the Angeleno archtype: the Celebrity Scion who thrived behind the scenes of the entertainment world and made a lasting impact on popular culure. Melcher worked on several projects with his mother, actress and singer Doris Day.

"Helping to shape the California surf, rock and folk music scene in the 1960s," the Times noted, "the multifaceted musician sang background, played piano, wrote lyrics, composed music and produced records and shows, including the Monterey Pop Festival."

Melcher also became the subject of an urban legend when he refused to give Charles Manson a recording contract. Melcher and his then-girlfriend, Candice Bergen, had once rented the secluded Benedict Canyon house where Sharon Tate and others were slain in 1969.

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The Times obituary says, "after Manson and his acolytes were arrested, there was a rumor that Manson had intended to kill Melcher for refusing to produce his songs. Investigators, after determining that Manson knew that Melcher had moved to Malibu, discounted the purported motivation."