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Overview for Dina Merrill
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: Cast ... actor businesswoman
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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 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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