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Dina Merrill Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (3)  | Trivia (18)

Overview (5)

Born in New York City, New York, USA
Died in East Hampton, New York, USA  (Lewy body dementia)
Birth NameNedenia Marjorie Hutton
Nickname Deenie
Height 5' 8" (1.73 m)

Mini Bio (1)

It would have been pretty difficult for willowy actress/model Dina Merrill to have pulled off playing a commoner on stage, film or TV in her day. She reeked of elegance and class. The epitome of style, poise and glamour, the New York-born socialite and celebrity was born Nedenia Marjorie Hutton on December 29, 1923, the daughter of E.F. Hutton, the financier and founder of the Wall Street firm that bore his name, and heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, of the Post cereal fortune. Although Dina made elegant, elaborate use of her upbringing over the decades, she handled it all positively and graciously without tabloid incidents, instilling these same refined credentials into a large portion of her characters.

Dina did not originally intend on an acting career. After studying at George Washington University, she suddenly dropped out after only a year (to the chagrin of her disapproving parents) after demonstrating a late desire to perform. Enrolling at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and studying with Uta Hagen among others, Dina appeared in the comedy "The Man Who Came to Dinner" before taking her first Broadway curtain call in "The Mermaids Singing" in 1945. She took some time off to play wife and mother to three children after marrying Stanley Rumbough, Jr., heir to the Colgate toothpaste fortune.

Dina finally made an official film debut with a smart and stylish support role in the Spencer Tracy/Katharine Hepburn vehicle Desk Set (1957). She continued to charm in the same upper crust vein playing some version of the model wife or blue-blooded maven in frequent posh outings. Some of her 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, Dina married ruggedly handsome actor Cliff Robertson in 1966. The pair had one daughter and were a popular Hollywood fixture for nearly 20 years. With her film career on the wane in the mid 1960's, Dina gravitated toward TV guest spots on such popular shows as "Dr. Kildare," "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," "Burke's Law," "Rawhide," "Daktari," "Bonanza," "Daniel Boone," "Batman" (as the villainous "Calamity Jan" alongside Robertson's western bad guy "Shame"), "The Name of the Game," "The Virginian," "Night Gallery," "Marcus Welby," "The Love Boat" and "The Odd Couple." She also graced a number of TV-movie dramas beginning with The Sunshine Patriot (1968) co-starring husband Robertson and Seven in Darkness (1969) (as a blind survivor of a plane crash), and continuing with The Lonely Profession (1969), Mr. and Mrs. Bo Jo Jones (1971), Family Flight (1972), The Letters (1973), The Tenth Month (1979), and a featured part in the mini-series sequel Roots: The Next Generations (1979).

Dina returned to Broadway as the co-star of the drama "Angel Street" (1975) and again with the revival of the musical "On Your Toes" in which she played "Peggy Porterfield" in both the 1983 Broadway revival and 1986 national tour. In the same year that Dina divorced second husband Cliff Robertson (1989), she married actor/investment banker Ted Hartley. Together the couple bought RKO Studios and renamed it RKO Pavilion. He serves as chairman and she vice chairperson/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, Dina was a moderate Republican (vice chair of the Republican Pro-Choice Coalition), and an active lobbyist for women's health issues. She also devoted much time working for the disadvantaged, particularly for the New York City Mission Society. She remained active and was an avid tennis and golf player for quite some time. Broaching age 90, the ever-glamorous actress appeared in a summer stock production of "Only a Kingdom" (2004) and continued to appear in occasional movie and television productions until developing dementia. Dina died on May 22, 2017, at age 93, survived by her third husband.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net (updated U.N. Owen)

Family (3)

Spouse Ted Hartley (18 November 1989 - 22 May 2017)  (her death)
Cliff Robertson (22 December 1966 - 1989)  (divorced)  (1 child)
Stanley Maddox Rumbough Jr. (23 March 1946 - 15 December 1966)  (divorced)  (3 children)
Children Rumbough, Stanley Hutton
Rumbough, Nedenia
Heather Robertson
Rumbough, David Post
Parents Marjorie Merriweather Post
Hutton, Edward Francis

Trivia (18)

Third husband Ted Hartley was a regular on the television series Peyton Place (1964). In 1989, they bought RKO Pictures, which she managed until her death.
Received the Women's International Center (WIC) Living Legacy Award (1994).
Her mother's first husband, Edward Bennett Close, was the grandfather of actress Glenn Close.
Spent her winters growing up at Mar-A-Lago, the largest and most elaborate estate in Palm Beach, Florida. As of this writing, 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 1940s 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.
She was a trustee of the Eugene O'Neill Theater Centern 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.
Received a lifetime achievement award from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. [April 2005]
Her cousin was heiress Barbara Hutton, who at one time was married to Cary Grant, who later co-starred with Merrill on Operation Petticoat (1959).
Her three children with first husband Stanley Rumbough, Jr--a Colgate heir--are Stanley, David (deceased), and Nedenia (Nina). She and second husband Cliff Robertson are the parents of daughter Heather Robertson (deceased).
She studied drama at HB Studio in Greenwich Village, New York City.
Both she and her then husband Cliff Robertson played "Special Guest Villains" on Batman (1966).
At a net worth of over $5 billion, she is by far the richest actress in the world. While this list changes every year, she has consistently held the #1 spot every year.
Ex-stepmother of Stephanie Robertson.
Daughter of Marjorie Merriweather Post and E.F. Hutton.
Her son David Post Rumbough (DOB: September 27, 1949) was killed in a boating accident on September 8, 1973 when the twin engine racing boat in which he was riding capsized in choppy seas in Gardiner's Bay off eastern Long Island. His remains were recovered on September 13th.
Alumna of the AADA (American Academy of Dramatic Arts), Class of 1944.

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