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David Merrick

David Merrick

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Also Known As: David Margulois Died: April 25, 2000
Born: November 27, 1911 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: St Louis, Missouri, USA Profession: producer, lawyer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

David Merrick's gift for producing scores of wildly successful plays and musicals was not the only factor that assured him a place in the annals of Broadway. Dubbed the 'Abominable Showman', the Tony Award-winning producer was equally well-known for his hot temper, abrasive personality, multiple stormy marriages and outrageous publicity stunts as he was for the popularity of the shows he financed.

David Merrick's gift for producing scores of wildly successful plays and musicals was not the only factor that assured him a place in the annals of Broadway. Dubbed the 'Abominable Showman', the Tony Award-winning producer was equally well-known for his hot temper, abrasive personality, multiple stormy marriages and outrageous publicity stunts as he was for the popularity of the shows he financed.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Variety (1974)
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Milestones close milestones

1939:
Left St Louis with first wife, Leonore Beck, and headed for NYC
1940:
Invested $5,000 in James Thurber's comic play,"The Male Animal", which became a huge hit; saw a $20,000 return on his investment
1940:
Paid homage to the great 18th-century English actor, David Garrick, by adopting name of David Merrick
1945:
Co-produced first Broadway show, "Bright Boy"
1946:
Became general manager for director and producer Herman Shumlin
1949:
Produced play, "Clutterbuck", which ran for six months despite lukewarm reviews from theater critics
1954:
Used outrageous publicity stunts to sell tickets for "Fanny", his first major Broadway musical which starred Ezio Pinza and Florence Henderson
1955:
Produced successful stage version of Thorton Wilder's "The Matchmaker", which would later serve as the basis for the Tony Award-winning musical "Hello, Dolly!"
1957:
Boosted ticket sales for "Look Back in Anger" by hiring an actress to pose as an audience member and attack an actor during a performance
1957:
Produced "Romanoff and Juliet" and "Jamaica"
1958:
Backed "The Entertainer" and "The World of Suzie Wong", "La Plume de Ma Tante", "Epitaph for George Dillon", Destry Rides Again", "Gypsy" and "Maria Golovin"
1958:
Boosted ticket sales for his production of "The World of Suzie Wong" by hiring protesters to picket outside theater where Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Flower Drum Song" was playing; the "demonstrators" claimed racial stereotypes were being exploited in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical
1960:
Financed "The Good Soup", "Irma La Douce", "Vintage '60", "A Taste of Honey", "Becket", and "Do Re Mi"
1961:
Won Tony Award for producing the Jean Anouilh play, "Becket"
1961:
Produced "Carnival!", "Sunday in New York", "Ross", and "Subways Are for Sleeping"
1961:
Wined and dined audience members with the same names as NYC's most powerful theater critics so he could get them to make kind remarks about his critically panned musical "Subways Are for Sleeping"; then used the encomia in an advertising campaign
1962:
Produced the musical "I Can Get It for You Wholesale", which helped launch the career of 19-year-old supporting player Barbra Streisand; also financed "Stop the World - I Want to Get off", "Tchin Tchin" and "Oliver!"
1963:
Produced "Hello, Dolly!", "Rehearsal", "Luther", "110 in the Shade", and "Arturo Ui"
1964:
Honored with two Tony Awards for produciong the musical "Hello, Dolly!" and the play "Luther"
1964:
Backed "Oh, What a Lovely War"
1965:
Produced "Pickwick", "The Roar of the Greasepaint - The Smell of the Crowd", "Inadmissible Evidence", "Cactus Flower", and "Marat/Sade"
1966:
Appeared on the cover of <i>Time</i> magazine
1966:
Produced "Don't Drink the Water" and "I Do! I Do!"
1967:
Replaced entire cast of "Hello, Dolly!" with an all-black company headed by Pearl Bailey
1967:
Financed "How Now, Dow Jones", "The Happy Time", and "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead"
1968:
Won Tony for producing the Tom Stoppard play "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead"
1968:
Produced "Forty Carats"
1969:
Backed "Promises, Promises", "Play It Again, Sam", and "Private Lives"
1970:
Backed a stage production of "Child's Play"
1971:
Financed "Four in a Garden", "A Midsummer Night's Dream", and "The Philanthropist"
1972:
Backed "There's One in Every Marriage", "Moonchildren", "Sugar" and "Vivat! Vivat Regina!"
1972:
Served as producer of the film version of "Child's Play"
1973:
Produced the play "Out Cry"
1974:
Financed stage productions of "Mack and Mabel" and "Dreyfus in Rehearsal"
1974:
Produced film version of "The Great Gatsby", starring Robert Redford
1975:
Backed "Very Good Eddy, "Travesties" and "The Misanthrope"
1976:
Honored with Tony Award for producing the Tom Stoppard play "Travesties"
1977:
Produced movie "Semi-Tough", the first of two movies starring Burt Reynolds
1980:
Financed the blockbuster musical "42nd Street"; announced at the curtain call on opening night that Gower Champion, the show's director and choreographer, had died earlier that day
1980:
Produced second Burt Reynolds film, "Rough Cut"
1981:
Won Tony for Best Musical for "42nd Street"
1981:
Produced stage play "I Won't Dance"
1983:
Had stroke and was confined to a wheelchair, barely able to speak
1989:
"42nd Street" closed after 3,500 performances
1990:
Produced the critically panned musical revival, "Oh Kay!"
1996:
Helped finance last musical production, "State Fair", a flop based on the 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein movie; sued the Tony Awards for ruling the show's score ineligible for award consideration
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Education

Washington University: St Louis , Missouri -
St Louis University: St Louis , Missouri -

Notes

"She likes me, that crazy girl. Surely, somewhere, sometime, someone must have liked you well enough, Mr Merrick, to give you a dig with an elbow. No? Ah, well." --Walter Kerr, drama critic for the New York Herald-Tribune and The New York Times in reply to David Merrick's accusation that Kerr's playwright wife, Jean, influenced his reviews by nudging him on opening night

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Leonore Beck. First wife; met when Merrick was attending law school; divorced.
wife:
Jeanne Gilbert. Press agent. Second wife; divorced; mother of Cecelia Merrick.
wife:
Etan Aronson. Third and fifth wife; married and divorced; remarried in 1983; separated c. 1985; divorced in 1999; mother of Marguerite Merrick.
wife:
Karen Prunczik. Actor, singer. Fourth wife; appeared in original Broadway production of "42nd Street"; briefly married in the early 1980s.
wife:
Natalie Lloyd. Legal receptionist. Became a couple in 1989; married by proxy on November 23, 1999.
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Family close complete family listing

father:
Samuel Margulois. Divorced from Merrick's mother c. 1923.
mother:
Celia Margulois. Divorced from Merrick's father c. 1923.
daughter:
Cecelia Ann Merrick. Born c. 1962; mother, Jeanne Gilbert.
daughter:
Marguerite Merrick. Born c. 1972; mother, Etan Aronson.
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