Dina Merrill
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Dina Merrill
Dina Merrill
Dina Merrill 1968.JPG
Publicity photo of Merrill in 1968
Nedenia Marjorie Hutton

(1923-12-29)December 29, 1923
DiedMay 22, 2017(2017-05-22) (aged 93)
EducationGeorge Washington University
American Academy of Dramatic Arts
OccupationActress, socialite, businesswoman, philanthropist
Years active1945-2009
Stanley M. Rumbough Jr.
(m. 1946; div. 1966)

Cliff Robertson
(m. 1966; div. 1986)

Ted Hartley
(m. 1989)
Parent(s)Edward Francis Hutton
Marjorie Merriweather Post
RelativesEleanor Post Close (half-sister)
C. W. Post (grandfather)
Barbara Hutton (cousin)

Dina Merrill (born Nedenia Marjorie Hutton; December 29, 1923 - May 22, 2017) was an American actress, heiress, socialite, businesswoman, and philanthropist.[1][2]

Early life

Merrill was born in New York City on December 29, 1923, although for many years, her date of birth was given as December 9, 1925.[3][4] She was the only child of Post Cereals heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post and her second husband, Wall Street stockbroker Edward Francis Hutton, founder of E. F. Hutton & Co.[5] Merrill had two older half-sisters, Adelaide Breevort (Close) Hutton (July 26, 1908 - December 31, 1998) and Eleanor Post (Close) Hutton (December 3, 1909 - November 27, 2006), by her mother's first marriage to Edward Bennett Close, grandfather of actress Glenn Close.

Merrill attended George Washington University in Washington, DC, for one term, then dropped out and enrolled at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. She studied acting at HB Studio[6] under Uta Hagen.[7] She received a lifetime achievement award from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in April 2005.[8]

Acting career

On advice from her half-sister's (then) husband, she adopted the stage name Dina Merrill, borrowing from Charles E. Merrill, a famous stockbroker like her father.[9] Merrill made her debut on the stage in the play The Mermaid Singing in 1945.[10]

During the late 1950s and 1960s, Merrill was believed to have intentionally been marketed as a replacement for Grace Kelly,[2] and in 1959, she was proclaimed "Hollywood's new Grace Kelly".[11]

Merrill's film credits included Desk Set (1957), A Nice Little Bank That Should Be Robbed (1958), Don't Give Up the Ship (1959), Operation Petticoat (1959, with Cary Grant, who had been married to her cousin, Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton), The Sundowners (1960), Butterfield 8 (1960), The Young Savages (1961), The Courtship of Eddie's Father (1963), I'll Take Sweden (1965), The Greatest (1977), A Wedding (1978), Just Tell Me What You Want (1980), Anna to the Infinite Power (1983), Twisted (1986), Caddyshack II (1988), Fear (1990), True Colors (1991), The Player (1992), Suture (1993), and Shade (2003). She also appeared in made-for-TV movies, such as Seven in Darkness (1969), The Lonely Profession (1969), Family Flight (1972), and The Tenth Month (1979).

Merrill appeared in numerous television series in the 1960s, such as playing the villain, "Calamity Jan," in two 1968 episodes of Batman alongside then-husband Cliff Robertson. She also made guest appearances on Bonanza, The Bold Ones, The Love Boat, Quincy, M.E., Murder, She Wrote, Roseanne, and The Nanny, as Maxwell Sheffield's disapproving and distant British mother. In 1971, Merrill appeared as Laura Duff in The Men From Shiloh (rebranded name for the TV Western The Virginian) in the episode titled "The Agnus Killer".

Her stage credits include the 1983 Broadway revival of the Rodgers and Hart musical On Your Toes, starring Russian prima ballerina Natalia Makarova. In 1991, she appeared in the rotating cast of the off-Broadway staged reading of Wit & Wisdom.[12]

Merrill, Bobby Short & Dick Sheridan in New York City (1970)

In 1991, Merrill and her third husband, Ted Hartley, merged their company, Pavilion Communications, with RKO to form RKO Pictures, which owns the intellectual property of the RKO Radio Pictures movie studio.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Merrill was a recurring guest on several network television game and panel shows including The Match Game, To Tell the Truth, What's My Line, and Hollywood Squares.

Board memberships

Merrill was a presidential appointee to the board of trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, a trustee of the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, and a vice president of the New York City Mission Society. In 1980, Merrill joined the board of directors of her father's E. F. Hutton & Co., continuing on the board of directors and the compensation committee of Lehman Brothers when it acquired Hutton, for over 18 years.[9][13]

Personal life and death

Merrill in 1999

Merrill was married three times. In 1946, she wed Stanley M. Rumbough Jr., an heir to the Colgate-Palmolive toothpaste fortune and entrepreneur.[14] They had three children, Nedenia Colgate Rumbough, David Post Rumbough, and Stanley Rumbough III [14] before divorcing in 1966.[15] Later that year, she wed Oscar-winning actor Cliff Robertson, with whom she had a daughter, Heather Robertson (1968-2007).[10] The couple divorced in 1986.[15]

In 1989, she married producer Ted Hartley.[14] Two of Merrill's four children predeceased her.[16][17]

On May 22, 2017, Merrill died at her home in East Hampton, New York at age 93. She had been suffering from dementia with Lewy bodies.[14]



  1. ^ Gingrich, Arnold (May 1960). Coronet. D. A. Smart. p. 13.
  2. ^ a b Hamilton, George; Stadiem, William (October 14, 2008). Don't Mind If I Do. Simon and Schuster. p. 98. ISBN 978-1-4165-9450-5.
  3. ^ "Date of birth given as December 29, 1923". hillwoodmuseum.org. Archived from the original on 2014-01-02.
  4. ^ Dina Merrill date of birth: December 29, 1923, paulbowles.org; accessed December 31, 2013.
  5. ^ "Dina Merrill Biography". filmreference.com. Retrieved 2017.
  6. ^ HB Studio Alumni
  7. ^ "A Touch Of Class". Retrieved 2017.
  8. ^ Major, Nellie Leitch (January 1, 1963). C.W. Post - the hour and the man: A biography with genealogical supplement. Washington, DC: Press of Judd & Detweiler, Inc. pp. 173. ASIN B0006AYYIS.
  9. ^ a b Rowes, Barbara (1980-05-12). "An Actress Turns to Finance: History Proves That Both Dina Merrill and Her Daddy Knew Best". People. Retrieved .
  10. ^ a b Bernstein, Adam (22 May 2017). "Dina Merrill, actress and philanthropist of aristocratic poise, dies at 93". Washington Post. Retrieved 2019.
  11. ^ "Dina Merrill: A Star on Her Toes". The New York Times. April 3, 1983. Retrieved 2014.
  12. ^ Wit & Wisdom, theatermania.com; accessed December 27, 2013.
  13. ^ Gillespie, John (2010-01-12). Money for Nothing: How the Failure of Corporate Boards Is Ruining American Business and Costing Us Trillions. Free Press. p. 13. ISBN 978-1-4165-5993-1.
  14. ^ a b c d Harmetz, Aljean (May 22, 2017). "Dina Merrill, Actress and Philanthropist, Dies at 93". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017.
  15. ^ a b "Dina Merrill: Performer". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 2017.
  16. ^ "Fortune, fame...and tragic deaths". Chicago Tribune. 1975-11-17. Retrieved .
  17. ^ "Deaths Robertson, Heather Merriweather". The New York Times. 2007-05-02. Retrieved .

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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