Dina Merrill, who was an elegant screen presence in film and on television starting in the late ’50s, has died. The New York Times reports that Merrill died Monday at her home in East Hampton, N.Y.
Merrill, who was 93, had Lewy Body dementia, according to her son, Stanley H. Rumbough.
“An elegant presence in most of her 30 or so mid-20th-century movies, Ms. Merrill played the betrayed wife who loses both her husband, Laurence Harvey, and her mink coat to Elizabeth Taylor in ‘Butterfield 8’ (1960); the chic fashion consultant who loses Glenn Ford to Shirley Jones in ‘The Courtship of Eddie’s Father’ (1963); and the steadfast socialite wife of an assistant district attorney played by Burt Lancaster in ‘The Young Savages’ (1961),” The Times reports.
The report adds: “The daughter of the Wall Street broker E. F. Hutton and the cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, Ms. Merrill grew up in luxury, spending up to six months a year on the Sea Cloud, the family yacht. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor were among the guests on what has been described as a ‘floating palace’ equipped with fireplaces, marble bathrooms, a barber shop and a wine cellar.”
The family’s winter home was the 115-room Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., which was bought by Donald Trump in 1985.
Merrill continued her acting career well into the 2000s, both on television and in film. In the early days of television she was a regular on the drama anthologies, appearing on “Four Star Playhouse,” “Playwrights ’56.” “Playhouse 90,” “Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse” and others.
Her many TV appearances over the years also included “Dr. Kildare,” “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour,” “Burke’s Law,” “Rawhide,” “Bonanza,” “Run for Your Life,” “Mission: Impossible” and “Night Gallery,” among many other shows.
In the 1980s, Merrill had a regular role on the TV show “Hot Pursuit,” and later in her career she turned up in guest spots on popular series including “Murder, She Wrote,” “The Nanny” and “Roseanne.”
Merrill was well-known for her philanthropic work, supporting causes including diabetes research, the theater and the New York Mission Society. She was married to actor Cliff Robertson from 1966-1989, and at the time of her death was married to actor and RKO Pictures Chairman and CEO Ted Hartley, and was vice chairman of RKO.
Here’s a clip from 2013 featuring clips from Merrill’s career along with Merrill’s reflections upon receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Guild Hall Academy of the Arts …