Dina Merrill

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Dina Merrill
Dina Merrill 1968.JPG
Publicity photo of Merrill in 1968
Born Nedenia Marjorie Hutton
(1923-12-29) December 29, 1923 (age 91)
New York, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1955–2009
Spouse(s) Stanley M. Rumbough, Jr.
(m.1946-1966; divorced)
Cliff Robertson
(m.1966-1986; divorced)
Ted Hartley
Children 4 total (2, David and Heather) predeceased Merrill
Relatives Barbara Hutton (cousin)

Dina Merrill (born December 29, 1923) is an American actress, socialite, businesswoman and philanthropist.[2][3]

Early life[edit]

Merrill was born Nedenia Marjorie Hutton in New York City on December 29, 1923, although for many years her year of birth was given as 1925.[4][5] She is the only child of Post Cereals heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post and her second husband, the Wall Street stockbroker Edward Francis Hutton.[6] 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 3, 1909 – November 27, 2006), by her mother's first marriage, to Edward Bennett Close (grandather 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. She made her debut in to society at age sixteen.[7] In April 2005, she received a lifetime achievement award from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.[8]


The late 1950s and 1960s, Merrill was believed to have intentionally been marketed as a replacement to Grace Kelly,[3] and in 1959 she was proclaimed "Hollywood's new Grace Kelly".[9]

Merrill's motion picture credits include 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 (1977), 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 regularly as a guest star on numerous television series in the 1960s, notably as a campy villain, "Calamity Jan," in a 1968 episode of Batman alongside then-husband Cliff Robertson. She also made a guest appearances on Bonanza and The Love Boat.

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.[10]

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

Personal life[edit]

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 (deceased), 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, she married former actor Ted Hartley. Two of Merrill's four children (David, Heather) predeceased their mother.

In 1991, Merrill and Hartley 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). She 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.[11]


  1. ^ Dina Merrill Net Worth, CelebrityNetWorth.com; accessed August 13, 2014.
  2. ^ Gingrich, Arnold (May 1960). Coronet. D. A. Smart. p. 13. 
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ Date of birth given as December 29, 1923; hillwoodmuseum.org; accessed December 31, 2013.
  5. ^ Date of birth given as December 29, 1923, paulbowles.org; accessed December 31, 2013.
  6. ^ Dina Merrill profile ar FilmReference.com
  7. ^ http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1993-02-28/features/9303185687_1_social-register-ted-hartley-movie
  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. p. 173. ASIN B0006AYYIS. 
  9. ^ "DINA MERRILL: A STAR ON HER TOES". The New York Times. April 3, 1983. Retrieved April 9, 2014. 
  10. ^ Wit & Wisdom, theatermania.com; accessed December 27, 2013.
  11. ^ 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. 

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