Dina Merrill Bio - Biography

Name Dina Merrill
Naionality American
Date of Birth 9 December 1925
Place of Birth New York, USA
Famous for
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 three young 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 starrer Desk Set (1957). With charm to spare, she continued in her same uppercrust 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, who had one child, 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 (renamed RKO Pavilion) in which he serves as chairman while she is a vice chairperson and creative director. The studio, which they still run, has 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 liberal 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 and an avid tennis and golf player as she approaches age 80, the ever-glamorous Dina appeared most recently in a summer stock production of "Only a Kingdom" (2004).

Dina Merrill Photos