Dina Merrill died on Monday, May 22nd at the age of 93.
She was the quintessential upper crust American sophisticate. Soft spoken but determined, the heiress to two vast fortunes and devoted philanthropist supporting an array of causes from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation to the Republican Pro-Choice Coalition (yep, there was one).
As a child she dreamed of costarring with Cary Grant. In 1959 in "Operation Petticoat," she did, and beautifully. Her father, the financier E.F. Hutton, always wanted her to be a lawyer and a Congresswoman. But from the age of five, she insisted on being an actress.
Check out this video interview with delicious film clips of her work, complete with her reaction to the news that Marlon Brando was reluctant to do a screen test with her. (One did not mess with Ms. Merrill.)
Video tribute to Dina Merrill from Guild Hall Academy of the Arts Lifetime Achievement Awards.
Young Dina Merrill
Daddy, I want to be an actress.
Her father, E.F. Hutton
Don't be a fool. You're not an actress.
Oh, Daddy, you wait and see.
As many people 'of a certain age' are fond of saying, they don't make 'em like this anymore. In her case, it couldn't be more true.
Rest in peace, Ms. Merrill.
Full New York Times Obituary.