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Dina Merrill

Dina Merrill

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Also Known As: Dina Merrill-Hartley, Nedenia Marjorie Hutton Died: May 22, 2017
Born: December 29, 1923 Cause of Death: Lewy body dementia
Birth Place: New York, 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 Dina 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, 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 Dina 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, 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, and 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 comedy-drama "A Wedding" (1978). Merrill's subsequent film work included appearances in Altman's Hollywood satire "The Player" (1992), mystery "Suture" (1993) and maligned sequel "Caddyshack II" (1988). 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 the once-venerable Hollywood studio RKO Pictures. Merrill served as vice chairman of the company. Dina Merrill died on May 22, 2017 at her home in Easthampton, New York. She was 93.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Shade (2004) Dina
2.
 Glow, The (2002) Pheobe
3.
 Chance of Snow, A (1998) Merilee Parker
4.
 Mighty Joe Young (1998) Society Woman
5.
 Something Borrowed, Something Blue (1997) Lydia D'Arcy
6.
7.
 Milk and Money (1996) David'S Mother
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

1965:
Acted as part of the Shaw Festival Repertory in stage productions of "Major Barbara" and "Misalliance"
1981:
Acted in a production of "The V.I.P.s"
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 "Write Me a Murder"
1960:
Began playing mostly supporting roles in features again with the films "Butterfield 8" and "The Sundowners"
1986:
Returned to features after another absence, this one of six years, to play a prominent role in the film "Twisted"
:
Acted in a number of TV anthology dramas of the 1950s, including "DuPont Show of the Month" and "The Desilu Playhouse"
1979:
First TV miniseries, "Roots: The Next Generations"
2004:
Cast in the action thriller "Shade," set in the L.A. scene of poker hustlers
1960:
First played Shakespeare onstage in a production of "Othello"
1965:
Last feature for ten years, "I'll Take Sweden," starring Bob Hope, Tuesday Weld and Frankie Avalon
1968:
First TV-movie, "The Sunshine Patriot"
1945:
Made Broadway debut in "The Mermaids Singing"
1984:
First TV series role as regular, the short-lived NBC adventure series, "Hot Pursuit"; played Estelle Modrian
1958:
Played first leading lady role, "A Nice Little Bank That Should Be Robbed"
1976:
Returned to Broadway to act a leading role in "Angel Street"
1975:
Returned to features to play roles in "The Meal" and "Deliver Us From Evil"
2002:
Co-starred in the A&E miniseries version of "The Magnificent Ambersons"
1957:
Made feature film debut in a supporting role in the Spencer Tracy-Katharine Hepburn romantic comedy, "Desk Set"
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"
2009:
Made final on-screen appearance in an uncredited role in "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt"
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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

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