Gary Merrill (Gary Fred Merrill)

Gary Merrill

Born in Hartford, Connecticut, Gary Merrill attended private Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, and Trinity College and began acting in 1944, while still in the United States Army Air Forces, in Winged Victory. Before entering films, Merrill’s deep cultured voice won him a recurring role as Batman in the Superman radio series. His film career began promisingly, with roles in films like Twelve O’Clock High (1949) and All About Eve (1950), but he rarely moved beyond supporting roles in his many Westerns, war movies, and medical dramas. His television career was extensive, if not consistent. He appeared from 1954-1956 as Jason Tyler on the NBC crime drama Justice, about lawyers of the Legal Aid Society of New York. In that series, he was cast opposite Dane Clark and then William Prince in the role of Richard Adams. In 1958, Merrill guest starred with June Lockhart in the roles of Joshua and Emily Newton in the episode “Medicine Man” of NBC’s western series, Cimarron City. Gary Merrill had recurring roles in Then Came Bronson with Michael Parks and Young Doctor Kildare, both of which lasted less than a season. In 1964, he starred as city editor Lou Sheldon, in the short-lived CBS drama about the fictitious New York Globe, The Reporter, with Harry Guardino in the title role as journalist Danny Taylor. In 1967, he starred in the Elvis Presley film, Clambake, with co-star James Gregory. Merrill’s first marriage, to Barbara Leeds in 1941, ended in divorce in Mexico July 28, 1950. That same day, he married Bette Davis, his co-star from All About Eve, and adopted her daughter Barbara from a previous marriage. He and Davis adopted two more children, Margo and Michael, but they had a bitter divorce in 1960. Often politically active, he campaigned in 1958 to elect the Democrat, Edmund Sixtus Muskie, as governor of Maine. Merrill also took part in the Selma to Montgomery marches in 1965 to promote Black voter registration. In response to U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Vietnam War policy, he unsuccessfully sought nomination to the Maine legislature as an anti-war, pro-environmentalist Democratic primary candidate. Aside from an occasional role as narrator, Merrill had essentially retired from the entertainment business after 1980. Shortly before his death, he authored the autobiography Bette, Rita and the Rest of My Life (1989).

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Born

  • August, 02, 1915
  • USA
  • Hartford, Connecticut

Died

  • March, 05, 1990
  • USA
  • Falmouth, Maine

Cause of Death

  • lung cancer

Cemetery

  • Pine Grove Cemetery
  • Falmouth, Maine
  • USA

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