skip navigation
Dina Merrill

Dina Merrill

Up
Down

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (0)

Recent DVDs

 
 

Desk Set DVD Bunny Watson (Katharine Hepburn) heads up the research department at the Federal... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

The Sundowners DVD Robert Mitchum stars as Paddy Carmody, an Irish itinerant sheepherder living in... more info $19.98was $19.98 Buy Now

The Magnificent Ambersons... This lavish, cable-TV remake of Orson Welles' The Magnficent Ambersons... more info $12.98was $12.98 Buy Now

What Makes Sammy Run? DVD Larry Blyden plays an uneducated boy from the Lower East Side who won't let... more info $24.98was $24.98 Buy Now

Just Tell Me What You Want... When Max Herschel (Alan King), the ruthless magnate who has everything, loses... more info $12.99was $19.99 Buy Now

Twenty Plus Two DVD Julia Joliet handles fan mail for movie stars. Now someone has a message for... more info $12.99was $19.99 Buy Now

Also Known As: Dina Merrill-Hartley, Nedenia Marjorie Hutton Died:
Born: December 9, 1925 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: actor, businesswoman

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Born to Wall Street financier E.F. Hutton and Post cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, a debutante-age Merrill gave up college after one year and moved to New York to study at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She debuted on Broadway in "The Mermaids Singing" (1945) and kept busy for the next decade with acting studies, Broadway and stock theater roles and work in early TV anthology dramas. Already in her thirties, Merrill made her film debut with a sweet performance as part of Katharine Hepburn's reference department staff in "Desk Set" (1957). Several leads soon presented themselves; the biggest hit film of these, "Operation Petticoat" (1959), cast the attractive and self-assured Merrill as one of a bevy of nurses who end up on a broken-down Naval submarine.By 1960, though, Merrill was alternating supporting roles with occasional leads, and was spending much of her time doing tours and regional work on stage. Film work capitalized on her off screen lifestyle, as in "The Young Savages" (1961), with Merrill as crusading DA Burt Lancaster's socialite spouse, and "Butterfield 8" (1960), as the colorless, long-suffering wife that wealthy Laurence Harvey cheats on with Elizabeth Taylor. Later...

Born to Wall Street financier E.F. Hutton and Post cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, a debutante-age Merrill gave up college after one year and moved to New York to study at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She debuted on Broadway in "The Mermaids Singing" (1945) and kept busy for the next decade with acting studies, Broadway and stock theater roles and work in early TV anthology dramas. Already in her thirties, Merrill made her film debut with a sweet performance as part of Katharine Hepburn's reference department staff in "Desk Set" (1957). Several leads soon presented themselves; the biggest hit film of these, "Operation Petticoat" (1959), cast the attractive and self-assured Merrill as one of a bevy of nurses who end up on a broken-down Naval submarine.

By 1960, though, Merrill was alternating supporting roles with occasional leads, and was spending much of her time doing tours and regional work on stage. Film work capitalized on her off screen lifestyle, as in "The Young Savages" (1961), with Merrill as crusading DA Burt Lancaster's socialite spouse, and "Butterfield 8" (1960), as the colorless, long-suffering wife that wealthy Laurence Harvey cheats on with Elizabeth Taylor. Later in the decade Merrill began acting in TV-movies, providing gracious professional turns over the years in "The Sunshine Patriot" (1968), "The Letters" (1973), "The Tenth Month" (1979), and "Fear" (1990). Merrill also racked up over 100 guest credits on various TV series, and tried one herself, "Hot Pursuit" (ABC, 1984). The premise of a couple accused of murder attempting to find the real killer themselves was a neat revamp of "The Fugitive", with Merrill as the victim's rich and vengeful widow, but the show never caught on.

Feature work resumed in the mid-70s, and Merrill gave an excellent performance as part of a well-to-do but wacky marriage party in Robert Altman's underrated satire, "A Wedding" (1978). Subsequent film work has been erratic, ranging from interesting, offbeat items (Altman's "The Player" 1992, the odd mystery "Suture" 1993) to misfires and genre fodder ("Twisted" 1986, "Caddyshack II" 1988). Stage work continued with "Angel Street" (1976) and "On Your Toes" (1983), but Merrill's primary interest became Pavilion, a film and entertainment development and production company she formed with Ted Hartley in 1988. The two married in 1989 and that same year acquired RKO Pictures, renaming their company RKO Pavilion. Merrill is vice chariman of the company.

Merrill's second husband (1966-89) was actor Cliff Robertson, Shame to her Calamity Jan in two guest spots on TV's "Batman" in the 60s.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Shade (2004) Dina
2.
 Glow, The (2002) Pheobe
3.
 Mighty Joe Young (1998) Society Woman
4.
 Chance of Snow, A (1998) Merilee Parker
5.
 Something Borrowed, Something Blue (1997) Lydia D'Arcy
6.
 Milk and Money (1996) David'S Mother
7.
8.
 Open Season (1995) Doris Hays-Briton
9.
 Shattering The Silence (1993) Clair Worth
10.
 Suture (1993) Alice Jameson
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Gained acting experience in stock companies and Broadway theater
1945:
Made Broadway debut in the play, "The Mermaids Singing"
:
Acted in a number of TV anthology dramas of the 1950s, including "DuPont Show of the Month" and "The Desilu Playhouse"
1957:
Made feature film debut in a supporting role in the Spencer Tracy-Katharine Hepburn romantic comedy, "Desk Set"
1958:
Played first leading lady role, "A Nice Little Bank That Should Be Robbed"
1960:
Began playing mostly supporting roles in features again with the films, "Butterfield 8" and "The Sundowners"
1960:
First played Shakespeare onstage in a production of "Othello"
1961:
Acted in a summer theater revival tour of the John van Druten comedy-drama, "The Voice of the Turtle"
1963:
Acted in a summer theater tour of the play, "Write Me a Murder"
1965:
Last feature for ten years, "I'll Take Sweden" starring Bob Hope, Tuesday Weld and Frankie Avalon
1965:
Acted as part of the Shaw Festival Repertory in stage productions of "Major Barbara" and "Misalliance"
1968:
First TV-movie, "The Sunshine Patriot"
1975:
Returned to features to play roles in "The Meal" and "Deliver Us From Evil"
1976:
Returned to Broadway to act a leading role in the play, "Angel Street"
1979:
First TV miniseries, "Roots: The Next Generations"
1981:
Acted in a production of the play, "The V.I.P.s"
1983:
Returned to Broadway to play a role in the revival of the landmark Richard Rodgers-Lorenz Hart-scored, George Balanchine-choreographed musical, "On Your Toes"
1984:
First TV series role as regular, the short-lived NBC adventure series, "Hot Pursuit"; played Estelle Modrian
1986:
Returned to features after another absence, this one of six years, to play a prominent role in the film, "Twisted"
2002:
Co-starred in the A&E miniseries version of "The Magnificent Ambersons"
2004:
Cast in the action thriller "Shade," set in the L.A. scene of poker hustlers
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

George Washington University: Washington , Washington D.C. -
American Academy of Dramatic Arts: New York , New York -
Miss Porter's School: Farmington , Connecticut -

Notes

With her husband Ted Hartley, she created the Hartley Merrill International Screenwriting Prize.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Stanley M Rumbough Jr. Married on March 23, 1946; divorced in December 1966.
husband:
Cliff Robertson. Actor. Married on December 21, 1966; separated in 1985; divorced in 1989; guest starred together in a two-part episode of the campy crimefighter series, "Batman" as Western villains Shame and Calamity Jan.
husband:
Ted Hartley. Producer, businessman, former actor. Married on November 18, 1989; he and Merrill had become business partners in 1988, forming Pavilion (later RKO Pavilion), an entertainment and film development production enterprise; has son Philippe (born c. 1955) from a relationship with a Morrocan woman.

Family close complete family listing

grandfather:
Charles W Post. Businessman. Founder of Post breakfast cereal empire.
mother:
Marjorie Merriweather Post. Socialite. An heir to the Post breakfast cereal empire; born in 1887; died in 1973.
father:
E F Hutton. Financier. Founder of the Wall Street brokerage firm, E F Hutton & Co Inc.
son:
Stanley M Rumbough III. Father, Stanley M Rumbough Jr.
son:
David Rumbough. Father, Stanley M Rumbough Jr.
daughter:
Nina Rumbough. Father, Stanley M Rumbough Jr.
daughter:
Heather Robertson. Father, Cliff Robertson.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute