Dina Merrill (1923 - 2017)

Dina Merrill, the socialite daughter of a Post Cereals heiress who became a popular film actress in the late 1950s and 1960s, died Monday, May 22, 2017. She was 93.

Merrill made her film debut in 1957’s Tracy-Hepburn comedy “Desk Set,” and soon was playing more prominent roles in movies such as 1958’s “Operation Petticoat,” 1960’s “BUtterfield 8,” and 1961’s “The Young Savages.”
Though Merrill continued to appear in some films in subsequent decades, she also appeared on Broadway and made more than 100 guest appearances on TV shows including “Batman” (with then-husband Cliff Robertson), “Bonanza,” and “The Love Boat.” More recently, she appeared in Robert Altman’s 1992 comedy about Hollywood, “The Player,” and with Sylvester Stallone and Melanie Griffith in 2004’s “Shade.”

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In 1988, Merrill and husband Ted Hartley founded the Pavilion production company, which acquired RKO Pictures the following year. Merrill served as vice chairman of the company, which produced and distributed movies such as “False Identity,” “Laws of Gravity,” and “Mighty Joe Young.”

In 2015, Hartley revealed that Merrill was diagnosed with “an advanced stage” of Lewy body dementia, the same disorder that affected comedian Robin Williams and actress Estelle Getty, among others.

Merrill is survived by husband Ted Hartley and children Nedenia Colgate Rumbough and Stanley Rumbough III. She was preceded in death by children David Post Rumbough and Heather Robertson, and ex-husbands Cliff Robertson and Stanley M. Rumbough Jr.

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