Dina Merrill


Actor
Dina Merrill

About

Also Known As
Dina Merrill-Hartley, Nedenia Marjorie Hutton
Birth Place
New York, New York, USA
Born
December 29, 1923
Died
May 22, 2017
Cause of Death
Lewy Body Dementia

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 ...

Family & Companions

Stanley M Rumbough Jr
Husband
Married on March 23, 1946; divorced in December 1966.
Cliff Robertson
Husband
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.
Ted Hartley
Husband
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.

Notes

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

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.

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

Shade (2004)
Dina
The Glow (2002)
Mighty Joe Young (1998)
A Chance of Snow (1998)
Merilee Parker
Something Borrowed, Something Blue (1997)
Lydia D'Arcy
Point of Betrayal (1996)
Milk and Money (1996)
David'S Mother
Open Season (1995)
Doris Hays-Briton
Shattering the Silence (1993)
Suture (1993)
Alice Jameson
The Player (1992)
True Colors (1991)
Fear (1990)
Turn Back the Clock (1989)
Maureen Dowd
Caddyshack II (1988)
Twisted (1986)
Nell
Just Tell Me What You Want (1980)
The Tenth Month (1979)
A Wedding (1978)
Antoinette Goddard
The Greatest (1977)
Kingston: The Power Play (1976)
Deliver Us from Evil (1975)
The Meal (1975)
The Letters (1973)
Family Flight (1972)
Florence Carlyle
Mr. and Mrs. Bo Jo Jones (1971)
Mrs Greher
I'll Take Sweden (1965)
Karin Grandstedt
The Courtship of Eddie's Father (1963)
Rita Behrens
The Young Savages (1961)
Karin Bell
Twenty Plus Two (1961)
Nikki/Doris Delaney
BUtterfield 8 (1960)
Emily Liggett
The Sundowners (1960)
Jean Halstead
Operation Petticoat (1959)
Lt. Barbara Duran
Don't Give Up the Ship (1959)
Ens. Rita Benson
A Nice Little Bank That Should Be Robbed (1958)
Margie Solitaire
Desk Set (1957)
Sylvia Blair

Producer (Feature Film)

Ritual (2005)
Producer
Milk and Money (1996)
Executive Producer

Cast (Special)

Spencer Tracy: Triumph and Turmoil (1999)
Barbara Hutton: Million Dollar Baby (1999)
Night of 100 Stars III (1990)
The Music Center 25th Anniversary (1990)
Performer
The Alan King Show (1986)
Bob Hope Special: Bob Hope's Road to Hollywood (1983)
Guest

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

Tanner on Tanner (2004)
Herself
The Magnificent Ambersons (2002)
Roots: The Next Generations (1979)

Life Events

1945

Made Broadway debut in "The Mermaids Singing"

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 "Write Me a Murder"

1965

Acted as part of the Shaw Festival Repertory in stage productions of "Major Barbara" and "Misalliance"

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"

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 "Angel Street"

1979

First TV miniseries, "Roots: The Next Generations"

1981

Acted in a production of "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

2009

Made final on-screen appearance in an uncredited role in "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt"

Videos

Movie Clip

Courtship Of Eddie's Father, The (1963) - I've Seen Too Many Rosalind Russell Pictures Their double-dates reversed at the bowling alley, New York radio host Norm (Jerry Van Dyke) with ingenuous Montanan Dolly (Stella Stevens) and his widower boss Tom (Glenn Ford) with the dignified, fetching professional fashion consultant Rita (Dina Merrill), in The Courtship Of Eddie’s Father, 1963.
Butterfield 8 (1960) - Better Than Sleeping Pills In her mink swiped from the closet of the wife of a client who insulted her by leaving cash, call-girl-in-denial Gloria (Elizabeth Taylor) drops in on musician and childhood pal Steve (Taylor's then-husband Eddie Fisher), in BUtterfield 8, 1960, from the novel by John O'Hara.
Butterfield 8 (1960) - Vice-President In Charge Of Nonsense We’ve just met womanizing Manhattan executive “Ligg” (Laurence Harvey), getting a talking-to from a business pal (Jeffrey Lynn), then at the shooting range in the tony suburbs with his slightly-estranged but loyal wife (Dina Merrill), early in Butterfield 8, 1960, starring Elizabeth Taylor.
Butterfield 8 (1960) - No Sale Much of the acting done by composer Bronislau Kaper, party-girl Gloria (Elizabeth Taylor, in her Oscar-winning role) is enraged when she discovers her married one-night-stand left cash for her in his apartment, in a segment of the opening scene from Daniel Mann's BUtterfield 8, 1960.
Operation Petticoat - Co-educational Holden (Tony Curtis) brings aboard unexpected nurses (Joan O'Brien, Dina Merrill, Virgina Gregg et al), perplexing Captain Sherman (Cary Grant), a key event in Blake Edwards' Operation Petticoat, 1959.
Operation Petticoat - Open, That's Sherman Opening credits with fish in a periscope, and the introduction of Cary Grant as "Admiral" Sherman, headed for a flashback, in the opening to Blake Edwards' hit Operation Petticoat, 1959, also starring Tony Curtis.

Trailer

Family

Charles W Post
Grandfather
Businessman. Founder of Post breakfast cereal empire.
Marjorie Merriweather Post
Mother
Socialite. An heir to the Post breakfast cereal empire; born in 1887; died in 1973.
E F Hutton
Father
Financier. Founder of the Wall Street brokerage firm, E F Hutton & Co Inc.
Stanley M Rumbough III
Son
Father, Stanley M Rumbough Jr.
David Rumbough
Son
Father, Stanley M Rumbough Jr.
Nina Rumbough
Daughter
Father, Stanley M Rumbough Jr.
Heather Robertson
Daughter
Father, Cliff Robertson.

Companions

Stanley M Rumbough Jr
Husband
Married on March 23, 1946; divorced in December 1966.
Cliff Robertson
Husband
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.
Ted Hartley
Husband
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.

Bibliography

Notes

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