Actress, socialite and philanthropist Dina Merrill passed away in her East Hampton home Monday.
Dina Merrill — the rebellious only child of Post Cereals heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, as well as actress, philanthropist, George Washington University alum and trustee for the Kennedy Center — died at the age of 93 on Monday at her home in East Hampton, New York.
The epitome of glamour, Merrill was born in New York City in 1923 to Post and Post's second husband, Wall Street stockbroker Edward Francis Hutton. Merill studied at George Washington University and suddenly dropped out a year later with the desire to become an actress, much to her parents' disapproval.
Merrill enrolled at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City and appeared in her first Broadway role in "The Mermaids Singing" in 1946, according to IMDb. Merrill went on to perform on Broadway for nearly a decade before marking her official film debut with a supporting role in the Spencer Tracy/Katharine Hepburn vehicle "Desk Set" in 1957.
In 1960, Merrill starred opposite Elizabeth Taylor in "Butterfield 8" and had a role in "The Young Savages" in 1961 and "The Courtship of Eddie's Father" in 1963. Other notable roles include "Twisted," "Caddyshack II" and "True Colors." She received a lifetime achievement award from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in 2005, according to IMDb.
Merrill came from a lavish upbringing. Her mother Post bought a 17-acre, 58-bedroom home in Palm Beach in the early 1920s that featured stones from Italy, antique Spanish tiles, golden bathroom fixtures and a dining room that imitated a part of Rome's Chigi Palace. President Donald Trump purchased the Mar-A-Lago property from the Post Foundation for $8 million in 1985 and turned it into a private club.
In 1946, Merrill married her first husband, Stanley M. Rumbough Jr., an heir to the Colgate-Palmolive toothpaste fortune. They had three children and divorced in 1966. Merrill then married Oscar-winning actor Cliff Robertson later that year. The couple starred as guest villains on "Batman" and starred in "The Sunshine Patriot" together before divorcing in 1989. In 1989, Merrill married former actor Ted Hartley, who she remained married to at the time of her death.
Along with acting, Merrill was a devoted philanthropist who was very involved in the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and the New York Mission Society, and was the director of the Paley Media Center. Merrill was also the vice chairwoman of the Republican Pro-Choice Coalition. Merrill was a trustee of the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center and served on the board of trustees for the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
Merrill is survived by her husband, her daughter Nedenia Colgate Rumbough and her son Stanley Rumbough III.