Kieth Merrill

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Kieth W. Merrill[1] (born May 22, 1940)[2] is an American filmmaker who has worked as a writer, director, and producer in the film industry since 1967. He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Directors Guild of America, and received an Academy Award for The Great American Cowboy (1973) and a nomination for Amazon (1997).


Merrill is the son of the Utah artist and landscape architect, David Merrill, and playwright and actress, Leola Green Merrill. He was born and raised in Farmington, Utah, a small, pioneer-founded town 20 miles north of Salt Lake City.[3] As an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (or LDS Church), he made the decision to serve as a missionary for the Church and was called to Denmark[4] where he served for two-and-a-half years.[5]

Merrill graduated with a BA from Brigham Young University (BYU) in 1967. He is married to Dagny Merrill, née Johnson. They have eight children and 35 grandchildren. The Merrills reside in Northern California.[3]

Merrill is the creator of HappyToHelp,org, a community outreach program that connects people willing to serve with organizations already engaged in charitable and humanitarian service,

In addition to his mainstream Hollywood projects, Merrill was commissioned by the First Presidency of the LDS Church to produce the films Legacy and The Testaments for the state-of-the-art 70 mm Legacy Theater at Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Merrill has been a member of the Board of Trustees of Southern Virginia University and president of the BYU Alumni Association. He received the Franklin S. Harris Fine Arts Award from BYU[6] when he delivered the commencement address to the BYU College of Fine Arts and Communications in 2007.[7]

His first novel, The Evolution of Thomas Hall, was published in May 2011, by Shadow Mountain. He was commissioned by the publisher to write an epic series with the working title Saga of Kings. Book One, Blood of the Dragon, is projected be released in May 2015. Book Two, Lord of Vengeance, is projected for a September, 2015 release.


Merrill has done work in various formats including IMAX and 70mm. He has created feature films, documentaries, television commercials, and miniseries.[8][9]

  • The Great American Cowboy (1973 Documentary Academy Award Winner)[10]
  • A Matter of Winning (1973)
  • Great American Indian (1976)
  • Three Warriors (1977)
  • Take Down (1978)
  • Kenny Rogers and the American Cowboy (1979)
  • Windwalker (1980)
  • Mr. Krueger's Christmas (1980)
  • Wheels of Fire (1981)
  • Harry's War (1981)
  • Rivals (1981)
  • The Cherokee Trail (1981)
  • Grand Canyon: The Hidden Secrets (1984) (IMAX)
  • Niagara: Miracles, Myths and Magic (1986) (IMAX)
  • Alamo: The Price of Freedom (1988)
  • Legacy (1990)
  • Polynesian Odyssey (1991) (IMAX)
  • On The Way Home (1992)
  • The Wild West (1993) (TV miniseries) (Emmy nomination)
  • Yellowstone (1994) (IMAX)
  • Passion for Life (1995) (IMAX)
  • Ozarks: Legacy and Legends (1995) (IMAX)
  • San Francisco: The Movie (1995) (IMAX)
  • Zion Canyon: Treasure of the Gods (1996) (IMAX)
  • Amazon (1997) (IMAX) (Nominated for Academy Award)
  • The Witness (1997) (IMAX)
  • Olympic Glory (1999) (IMAX)
  • The Testaments (2000)
  • The 12 Dogs of Christmas (2005)
  • The 12 Dogs of Christmas – Great Puppy Rescue (2012)


  1. ^ Middle initial from Condie, Todd R. (Spring 2003). "A Philosophy of Storytelling". BYU Magazine. Retrieved June 11, 2009. 
  2. ^ "Kieth Merrill". allmovie. All Media Guide. Retrieved June 11, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b "Kieth Merrill". Outstanding Alumni Profiles BYU College of Fine Arts and Communications. Retrieved June 11, 2009. 
  4. ^ "8-Day Norway Fjords "Lights of the Fjords" Cruise". Meridian Magazine. September 23, 2004. 
  5. ^ Kelly, Brian (August 1975). "Kieth Merrill: Great American Filmmaker". New Era: 10. Retrieved June 11, 2009. 
  6. ^ "Kieth Merrill" (wiki). College of Fine Arts and Communications History. Brigham Young University. Retrieved June 11, 2009. 
  7. ^ Merrill, Keith (2007). "Telling 'Out Story' to All the World". Meridian Magazine. 
  8. ^ Kieth Merrill at
  9. ^ Kieth Merrill – Filmmaker
  10. ^ Session Timeout – Academy Awards Database – AMPAS


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