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Dina Merrill Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (3) | Trivia (14)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 9 December 1925New York City, New York, USA
Birth NameNedenia Marjorie Hutton
Nickname Deenie

Mini Bio (1)

It would have been pretty darn difficult for actress Dina Merrill to have ever pulled off playing a commoner on stage, film or TV. She just had too much class. The epitome of poise and glamor, the New York-born socialite and celebrity was born in 1925 the daughter of financier E.F. Hutton, the founder of the Wall Street firm, and heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post of the Post cereal fortune. Although Dina has made elaborate use of her silver spoon privilege over the many decades, she has handled it all positively and graciously, and without tabloid incident. Instilling these same refined credentials into her femme characters, she originally did not intend to pursue acting. Studying at George Washington University, she suddenly dropped out after only a year (to the chagrin of her disapproving parents) after sensing a strong desire to perform. Enrolling at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, she apprenticed in summer stock in the early 1940s before reaching the Broadway boards with "The Mermaids Singing" (1945). After nearly a decade of theater roles and taking some time off to raise two children (her first husband was Stanley Rumbough, Jr., an heir to the Colgate toothpaste fortune), Dina finally made her official film debut with a smart and stylish support role in the Spencer Tracy / Katharine Hepburn vehicle Desk Set (1957). With charm to spare, she continued in her same upper-crust vein playing some version of the model wife, or socialite maven in her many posh but hardly challenging outings. Some of Dina's more noticeable roles came with Operation Petticoat (1959) with the equally classy Cary Grant, BUtterfield 8 (1960), starring Elizabeth Taylor and Laurence Harvey, and The Young Savages (1961) opposite Burt Lancaster. Following her divorce to Rumbough after 20 years, she married handsome actor Cliff Robertson in 1966. The pair had one daughter and were a popular Hollywood fixture for nearly 20 years before they, too, ended up in the divorce courts. With her film career on the wane, Dina gravitated toward the usual TV guest spots, and went on to co-star on Broadway with the drama "Angel Street" (1975) and the revamped musical "On Your Toes" (1983). In 1989 Dina married actor and investment banker Ted Hartley. Together they bought RKO Studios and renamed it RKO Pavilion. He serves as chairman while she is a vice chairperson and creative director. The studio produced such popular efforts as Milk & Money (1996) and the remake of Mighty Joe Young (1998).

Admired for her tireless philanthropic contributions, she is a moderate Republican (vice chair of the Republican Pro-Choice Coalition)and an active lobbyist for women's health issues. She has also devoted much of her time working for the disadvantaged, particularly for the New York City Mission Society. Still active, an avid tennis and golf player as she approaches age 90, the ever-glamorous Dina appeared most recently in a summer stock production of "Only a Kingdom" (2004) and continues to appear in occasional movie and television productions.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Spouse (3)

Ted Hartley (18 November 1989 - present)
Cliff Robertson (22 December 1966 - 1986) (divorced) (1 child)
Stanley M. Rumbough, Jr. (23 March 1946 - 15 December 1966) (divorced) (3 children)

Trivia (14)

Current husband, Ted Hartley, was a regular on the Peyton Place (1964) television series. In 1989, they bought RKO Pictures, which they run today. The studio's recent hit was Mighty Joe Young (1998).
Received the Women's International Center (WIC) Living Legacy Award in 1994.
Her mother's first husband, Edward Bennett Close, later became the grandfather of actress Glenn Close.
Spent her winters growing up at Mar-A-Lago, Palm Beach, Florida's largest and most elaborate estate. Today, Mar-a-Lago is owned by Donald Trump, who runs the estate as a private club and residence. Trump rescued the estate from condemnation in 1985 and painstakingly restored it to its former glory.
On Broadway in the '40s before moving to film, she was hardly ever stretched during her career, being typed rather severely as a tactful, altruistic wife in family fare or as an elegant socialite and patron of the arts in sophisticated fluff.
When one of her children was diagnosed with diabetes, she became one of the founders of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, which is dedicated to diabetic research. She is also a director of Project Orbis, a flying ophthalmological hospital which teaches advanced eye care and performs surgical techniques around the world.
On the artistic side, she is a trustee of the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center and a director of the Museum of Broadcasting. She was also a presidential appointee to the Board of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
As an actress, socialite and model, she made the cover of Life magazine on January 11, 1960.
In April of 2005, she received a lifetime achievement award from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
Her cousin was heiress Barbara Hutton, who at one time was married to Cary Grant, who later co-starred with Merrill in Operation Petticoat (1959).
Two of Dina Merrill's three children with first husband Stanley Rumbaugh, Jr., a Colgate heir, are David (deceased) and Nina. She and second husband Cliff Robertson are the parents of daughter Heather(deceased).
She studied drama at HB Studio in Greenwich Village in New York City.
She is one of only eight actors to have played "Special Guest Villains" in Batman (1966), and who are still living as of 2014, the others being Julie Newmar, John Astin, Eli Wallach, Joan Collins, Glynis Johns, Barbara Rush and Zsa Zsa Gabor.
Both she and her then husband Cliff Robertson played "Special Guest Villains" in Batman (1966).

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