Publicity photo of Merrill in 1968
|Born||Nedenia Marjorie Hutton
December 29, 1923
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Died||May 22, 2017
East Hampton, New York, U.S.
|Education||George Washington University
American Academy of Dramatic Arts
|Occupation||Actress, socialite, businesswoman and philanthropist|
|Spouse(s)||Stanley M. Rumbough, Jr.
(m. 1946; div. 1966)
(m. 1966; div. 1986)
(m. 1989; her death 2017)
|Parent(s)||Marjorie Merriweather Post
Edward Francis Hutton
|Relatives||Eleanor Post Close (half-sister)
Barbara Hutton (cousin)
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. She was the only child of Post Cereals heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post and her second husband, Wall Street stockbroker Edward Francis Hutton. 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, D.C., for one term, then dropped out and enrolled at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. She received a lifetime achievement award from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in April 2005.
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. Merrill made her debut on the stage in the play The Mermaid Singing in 1945.
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 and The Nanny, as Maxwell Sheffield's disapproving and distant British mother.
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.
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.
Dina was a well-known TV guest on Match Game, To Tell the Truth, What's My Line, and Hollywood Squares (1960-1980).
Merrill was married three times. In 1946 she wed Stanley M. Rumbough, Jr., an heir to the Colgate-Palmolive toothpaste fortune and an entrepreneur. They had three children before divorcing in 1966. Later that year, she wed Oscar-winning actor Cliff Robertson, with whom she had a daughter, Heather Robertson. The couple divorced in 1986.
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.
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