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Actress and Philanthropist Dina Merrill Dies at 93

Dina Merrill, the actress, heiress and RKO executive who was married to Cliff Robertson, died at her home in East Hampton. She was 93 and was suffering from Lewy Body dementia.

Born as Nedenia Marjorie Hutton on Dec. 29, 1923, Dina Merrill was the only child of Post Cereals heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post and her second husband, the Wall Street stockbroker Edward Francis Hutton. She made her feature film debut in 1957 opposite Katharine Hepburn in “Desk Set,” and appeared over the course of her career in movies like “Butterfield 8,” “The Young Savages,” “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, “Don’t Give Up the Ship,” “Operation Petticoat” and “A Wedding.” On the small screen, Merrill made early appearances in sitcom “The Phil Silvers Show” and anthology “Playhouse 90.” She also appeared opposite Cliff Robertson as villainess Calamity Jan in “Batman,” and made the guest star rounds on series like “Million: Impossible,” “The Name of the Game,” “The F.B.I.,” “Cannon,” “Marcus Welby, M.D.,” the original Hawaii Five-O,” “The Love Boat” and “The Nanny.” She also co-starred in NBC drama “Hot Pursuit” in 1984 and appeared in numerous made-for television movies.

After her son was diagnosed with diabetes in 1963, Merrill founded the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. The actress also was heavily involved for decades in the New York City Mission Society. Another favorite cause was Orbis International, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting blindness and eye diseases in developing countries.
In 1982, President Reagan appointed Merrill to the board of trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She also was a trustee of the Eugene O’Neill Foundation.
In addition to her husband, Merrill is survived by her daughter Nina and her son Stanley. Her son David was killed in a boating accident in 1973, and daughter Heather, an actress and screenwriter, died of ovarian cancer in 2007.

Dina Merrill, the actress, heiress and RKO executive who was married to Cliff Robertson, died at her home in East Hampton. She was 93 and was suffering from Lewy Body dementia.

Born as Nedenia Marjorie Hutton on Dec. 29, 1923, Dina Merrill was the only child of Post Cereals heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post and her second husband, the Wall Street stockbroker Edward Francis Hutton. She made her feature film debut in 1957 opposite Katharine Hepburn in “Desk Set,” and appeared over the course of her career in movies like “Butterfield 8,” “The Young Savages,” “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, “Don’t Give Up the Ship,” “Operation Petticoat” and “A Wedding.” On the small screen, Merrill made early appearances in sitcom “The Phil Silvers Show” and anthology “Playhouse 90.” She also appeared opposite Cliff Robertson as villainess Calamity Jan in “Batman,” and made the guest star rounds on series like “Mission: Impossible,” “The Name of the Game,” “The F.B.I.,” “Cannon,” “Marcus Welby, M.D.,” the original Hawaii Five-O,” “The Love Boat” and “The Nanny.” She also co-starred in NBC drama “Hot Pursuit” in 1984 and appeared in numerous made-for television movies.

After her son was diagnosed with diabetes in 1963, Merrill founded the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. The actress also was heavily involved for decades in the New York City Mission Society. Another favorite cause was Orbis International, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting blindness and eye diseases in developing countries.

In 1982, President Reagan appointed Merrill to the board of trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She also was a trustee of the Eugene O’Neill Foundation.

In addition to her husband, Merrill is survived by her daughter Nina and her son Stanley. Her son David was killed in a boating accident in 1973, and daughter Heather, an actress and screenwriter, died of ovarian cancer in 2007.

Written by Marc Berman

Marc Berman

Marc Berman has been writing professionally since 1999 and is the author of the “Mr. Television” for Campaign US (www.campaignlive.com). Most recently, Berman was the creator and Editor-in-Chief of website and newsletter TV Media Insights for Cross MediaWorks. From 1999-2011, he was the Senior Editor for Mediaweek and has also written for The New York Daily News, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and Emmy Magazine, among others. Berman has also appeared on “Entertainment Tonight,” “Extra,” “Access Hollywood,” “Inside Edition,” “The CBS Evening News,” E!, CNN, CNBC, Fox News and MSNBC.

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