Publicity photo of Merrill in 1968
|Born||Nedenia Marjorie Hutton
December 29, 1923
New York, New York, U.S.
|Net worth||$5 billion|
|Spouse(s)||Stanley M. Rumbough, Jr.
|Relatives||Barbara Hutton (cousin)|
Dina Merrill (born December 29, 1923) is an American actress, socialite, businesswoman and philanthropist. Due to her aristocratic appearance, class, and style, she was often likened to Grace Kelly. Her net worth is estimated at $ 5 billion.
Merrill was born Nedenia Marjorie Hutton in New York City on December 29, 1923, the only child of Post Cereals heiress, Marjorie Merriweather Post, and her second husband, the Wall Street stockbroker, Edward Francis Hutton. Merrill had two older half-sisters, Adelaide Breevort Close, later Adelaide Breevort Hutton (July 26, 1908 – December 31, 1998) and Eleanor Post Close, later Eleanor Post Hutton (December 12, 1909 – November 27, 2006), by her mother's first marriage, to Edward Bennett Close (grandfather of actress Glenn Close). She was educated at Miss Porter's School and she studied at the George Washington University but dropped out after a year and enrolled at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. In April 2005, she received a lifetime achievement award from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
The late 1950s and 1960s, Merrill was believed to have intentionally been marketed as a replacement to Grace Kelly, and in 1959 she was proclaimed "Hollywood's new Grace Kelly". Merrill has acted in 22 motion pictures, including 1957's Desk Set, 1959's Operation Petticoat (with Cary Grant, who was married to her cousin, Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton), 1960's The Sundowners and Butterfield 8, 1961's The Young Savages, 1963's The Courtship of Eddie's Father, 1977's A Wedding, 1991's True Colors, and 1992's The Player. Merrill appeared regularly as a guest star on numerous television series in the 1960s, notably as a campy villain, "Calamity Jan" in a 1966 episode of Batman alongside then-husband, Cliff Robertson. She also made a guest-appearnce in Bonanza in the two part episode ("The Pursued") in 1966.
Her stage credits include the 1983 Broadway revival of the Rodgers & 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.
Merrill has been 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 (Nedenia Colgate Rumbough, David Post Rumbough, Stanley Rumbough III), but divorced in 1966. Later that year, she wed Oscar-winning actor Cliff Robertson. In 1969, Merrill gave birth to a daughter, Heather, who predeceased her parents. In 1989, Merrill married former actor Ted Hartley. In 1991, the couple merged their company, Pavilion Communications, with RKO to form RKO Pictures (which owns the copyright to the films and intellectual property of RKO Radio Pictures movie studio).
Merrill is 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. She served on the board of directors and the compensation committee of Lehman Brothers for over 18 years.
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