Gary Merrill
Gary Fred Merrill was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

 and television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

 character actor
Character actor
A character actor is one who predominantly plays unusual or eccentric characters. The Oxford English Dictionary defines a character actor as "an actor who specializes in character parts", defining character part in turn as "an acting role displaying pronounced or unusual characteristics or...

 whose credits included more than fifty feature films, a half-dozen mostly short-lived TV series, and dozens of television guest appearances.

Life and career

Born in Hartford, Connecticut
Hartford, Connecticut
Hartford is the capital of the U.S. state of Connecticut. The seat of Hartford County until Connecticut disbanded county government in 1960, it is the second most populous city on New England's largest river, the Connecticut River. As of the 2010 Census, Hartford's population was 124,775, making...

, he attended private Bowdoin College
Bowdoin College
Bowdoin College , founded in 1794, is an elite private liberal arts college located in the coastal Maine town of Brunswick, Maine. As of 2011, U.S. News and World Report ranks Bowdoin 6th among liberal arts colleges in the United States. At times, it was ranked as high as 4th in the country. It is...

 in Brunswick
Brunswick, Maine
Brunswick is a town in Cumberland County, Maine, United States. The population was 20,278 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Portland-South Portland-Biddeford metropolitan area. Brunswick is home to Bowdoin College, the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum, , and the...

, Maine
Maine is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south, New Hampshire to the west, and the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the northwest and New Brunswick to the northeast. Maine is both the northernmost and easternmost...

, and began acting in 1944, while still in the United States Army Air Forces
United States Army Air Forces
The United States Army Air Forces was the military aviation arm of the United States of America during and immediately after World War II, and the direct predecessor of the United States Air Force....

, in Winged Victory
Winged Victory (play)
Winged Victory is a play and, later, a film by Moss Hart, originally created and produced by the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II as a morale booster and as a fundraiser for the Army Emergency Relief Fund. Upon recommendation of Lt. Col. Dudley S. Dean, who had been approached with the...

. Before entering films, Merrill's deep cultured voice won him a recurring role as Batman
Batman is a fictional character created by the artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger. A comic book superhero, Batman first appeared in Detective Comics #27 , and since then has appeared primarily in publications by DC Comics...

 in the Superman radio series. His film career began promisingly, with roles in films like Twelve O'Clock High
Twelve O'Clock High
Twelve O'Clock High is a 1949 American war film about aircrews in the United States Army's Eighth Air Force who flew daylight bombing missions against Nazi Germany and occupied France during the early days of American involvement in World War II. The film was adapted by Sy Bartlett, Henry King ...

(1949) and All About Eve
All About Eve
All About Eve is a 1950 American drama film written and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, based on the 1946 short story "The Wisdom of Eve", by Mary Orr.The film stars Bette Davis as Margo Channing, a highly regarded but aging Broadway star...

(1950), but he rarely moved beyond supporting roles in his many Westerns, war movies, and medical drama
Medical drama
A medical drama is a television program, in which events center upon a hospital, an ambulance staff, or any medical environment.In the United States, most medical episodes are one hour long and, more often than not, are set in a hospital. Most current medical Dramatic programming go beyond the...

s. His television career was extensive, if not consistent. He appeared from 1954-1956 as Jason Tyler on the NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

 crime drama Justice
Justice (1954 TV series)
Justice is an NBC half-hour drama television series about attorneys of the Legal Aid Society of New York, which aired from April 8, 1954 to March 25, 1956. In the 1954-1955 season, Justice starred Dane Clark as Richard Adams and Gary Merrill as Jason Tyler. In the 1955-1956 season, William Prince...

, about lawyers of the Legal Aid Society of New York. In that series, he was cast oppostie Dane Clark
Dane Clark
Dane Clark was an American film actor who was known for playing, as he labeled himself, "Joe Average".-Early life:...

 and then William Prince in the role of Richard Adams. Merrill also had recurring roles in Then Came Bronson
Then Came Bronson
Then Came Bronson is a short-lived adventure/drama television series that aired on NBC from 1969 to 1970, and was produced by MGM Television. The series, created by Denne Bart Petitclerc, began with a movie pilot on Monday, March 24, 1969. The series was greenlit for one year and began its first...

with Michael Parks
Michael Parks
Michael Parks is an American actor and singer. He has appeared in almost fifty films and has made frequent TV appearances, but is probably best known for his work in recent years with Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, and Kevin Smith as well as the 1969 television series Then Came...

 and Young Doctor Kildare, both of which lasted less than a season.

In 1964, he starred as city editor
City editor
A city editor is a title used by a particular section editor of a newspaper. They are responsible for the daily changes of a particular issue of a newspaper that will be released in the coming day...

 Lou Sheldon, in the short-lived CBS drama about the fictitious New York Globe, The Reporter
The Reporter (TV series)
The Reporter is an American drama series that aired on CBS from September 25 to December 18, 1964. The series was created by Jerome Weidman and developed by executive producers Keefe Brasselle and John Simon.-Synopsis:...

, with Harry Guardino
Harry Guardino
Harry Guardino was an American actor whose career spanned from the early 1950s to the early 1990s. In 1964, he was cast in a short-lived CBS series entitled The Reporter, a drama about a hard-hitting investigative journalist named Danny Taylor. His principal co-star was Gary Merrill as city...

 in the title role as journalist
A journalist collects and distributes news and other information. A journalist's work is referred to as journalism.A reporter is a type of journalist who researchs, writes, and reports on information to be presented in mass media, including print media , electronic media , and digital media A...

 Danny Taylor.

Merrill's first marriage, to Barbara Leeds in 1941, ended in divorce
Divorce is the final termination of a marital union, canceling the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage and dissolving the bonds of matrimony between the parties...

 in 1950. He immediately married Bette Davis
Bette Davis
Ruth Elizabeth "Bette" Davis was an American actress of film, television and theater. Noted for her willingness to play unsympathetic characters, she was highly regarded for her performances in a range of film genres, from contemporary crime melodramas to historical and period films and occasional...

, his co-star from All About Eve, and adopted her daughter Barbara
B. D. Hyman
B. D. Hyman , aka B.D. Merrill, is an American author and pastor.Hyman was born in Santa Ana, California, the daughter of the actress Bette Davis and artist William Sherry. She was adopted by Davis's husband, Gary Merrill, in 1950...

 from a previous marriage. He and Davis adopted two more children, but divorced in 1960.

Often politically active, he campaigned in 1958 to elect the Democrat
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

, Edmund Sixtus Muskie
Edmund Muskie
Edmund Sixtus "Ed" Muskie was an American politician from Rumford, Maine. He served as Governor of Maine from 1955 to 1959, as a member of the United States Senate from 1959 to 1980, and as Secretary of State under Jimmy Carter from 1980 to 1981...

, as governor of Maine
Governor of Maine
The governor of Maine is the chief executive of the State of Maine. Before Maine was admitted to the Union in 1820, Maine was part of Massachusetts and the governor of Massachusetts was chief executive....

. Merrill also took part in the Selma to Montgomery marches
Selma to Montgomery marches
The Selma to Montgomery marches were three marches in 1965 that marked the political and emotional peak of the American civil rights movement. They grew out of the voting rights movement in Selma, Alabama, launched by local African-Americans who formed the Dallas County Voters League...

 in 1965 to promote African American
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

 voter registration. In response to U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson , often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States...

's Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 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).

Merrill died of lung cancer
Lung cancer
Lung cancer is a disease characterized by uncontrolled cell growth in tissues of the lung. If left untreated, this growth can spread beyond the lung in a process called metastasis into nearby tissue and, eventually, into other parts of the body. Most cancers that start in lung, known as primary...

 at Falmouth, Maine
Falmouth, Maine
Falmouth is a town in Cumberland County, Maine, United States. The population was 11,185 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Portland–South Portland–Biddeford, Maine metropolitan statistical area....

 and is buried there in the Pine Grove Cemetery. During his long residence in Falmouth, Merrill received some complaints from locals due to his habit of appearing in public wearing a caftan instead of a shirt and trousers.

Theatrical film appearances

  • Winged Victory
    Winged Victory (film)
    Winged Victory is a 1944 drama film directed by George Cukor, a joint effort of 20th Century Fox and the U.S. Army Air Forces. Based upon the successful play with the same name by Moss Hart, who also wrote the screenplay, the film only opened after the play's theatre run.-Plot:Frankie Davis , Allan...

  • Slattery's Hurricane
    Slattery's Hurricane
    Slattery's Hurricane is a 1949 drama film based on a story submitted by Herman Wouk to Twentieth Century Fox. The film tells the story of an anti-hero ex-navy pilot who discovers that he works for a dope-smuggling ring, but ultimately attempts to redeem himself during a violent hurricane. It stars...

  • Twelve O'Clock High
    Twelve O'Clock High
    Twelve O'Clock High is a 1949 American war film about aircrews in the United States Army's Eighth Air Force who flew daylight bombing missions against Nazi Germany and occupied France during the early days of American involvement in World War II. The film was adapted by Sy Bartlett, Henry King ...

  • Mother Didn't Tell Me (1950)
  • Where the Sidewalk Ends
    Where the Sidewalk Ends
    Where the Sidewalk Ends is a 1950 American film noir directed and produced by Otto Preminger. The screenplay for the film was written by Ben Hecht, and adapted by Robert E. Kent, Frank P. Rosenberg, and Victor Trivas. The screenplay and adaptations were based on the novel Night Cry by William L....

  • All About Eve
    All About Eve
    All About Eve is a 1950 American drama film written and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, based on the 1946 short story "The Wisdom of Eve", by Mary Orr.The film stars Bette Davis as Margo Channing, a highly regarded but aging Broadway star...

  • The Frogmen (1951)
  • Decision Before Dawn
    Decision Before Dawn
    Decision Before Dawn is a 1951 American war film directed by Anatole Litvak, starring Richard Basehart, Oskar Werner, and Hans Christian Blech. It tells the story of the American Army using potentially unreliable German prisoners of war to gather intelligence in the closing days of World War II...

  • Another Man's Poison
    Another Man's Poison
    Another Man's Poison is a 1951 British drama film directed by Irving Rapper. The screenplay by Val Guest is based on the play Intent to Murder by Leslie Sands.-Plot:...

  • Phone Call from a Stranger
    Phone Call from a Stranger
    Phone Call from a Stranger is a 1952 American drama film directed by Jean Negulesco, who was nominated for the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. The screenplay by Nunnally Johnson and I.A.R...

  • The Girl in White
    The Girl in White
    The Girl in White is a 1952 anthology film directed by John Sturges....

  • Night Without Sleep
    Night Without Sleep
    Night Without Sleep is a 1952 mystery film directed by Roy Ward Baker.-Plot:A composer, Richard Morton experiences blackouts and cannot account for his actions. He seems to recall a woman's screams and a conversation with his wife, Emily, but it's all a blur.Morton goes to see his friend John...

  • A Blueprint for Murder
    A Blueprint for Murder
    A Blueprint for Murder is a thriller film starring Joseph Cotten, Jean Peters, and Gary Merrill, and directed and written by Andrew L. Stone.-Plot:...

  • Witness to Murder
    Witness to Murder
    Witness to Murder is a 1954 suspense film starring Barbara Stanwyck.-Plot:A woman, while looking out her bedroom window, witnesses a young woman being strangled to death. The woman reports the killing to the police, but no one believes her. In fact, the body can't even be found...

  • The Black Dakotas (1954)
  • The Human Jungle
    The Human Jungle
    The Human Jungle is a British TV series about a psychiatrist, made for ABC Weekend Television by the small production company Independent Artists and screened by the ITV Network...

  • Navy Wife
    Navy Wife
    Navy Wife is a 1956 comedy film directed by Edward Bernds , and starring Joan Bennett, Gary Merrill, Shirley Yamaguchi...

  • Bermuda Affair (1956)
  • The Missouri Traveler
    The Missouri Traveler
    The Missouri Traveler is a 1958 American coming-of-age period piece drama film directed by Jerry Hopper starring Brandon De Wilde and Lee Marvin. It is based on the novel by John Burress. The cinematography was by Technicolor developer Winton C. Hoch with harmonica and banjo score by Jack Marshall...

  • Crash Landing (1958)
  • The Wonderful Country
    The Wonderful Country
    The Wonderful Country is a 1952 Western novel written by Tom Lea. The book is set in Chihuahua and Sonora, Mexico, and Texas and New Mexico in the United States...

  • The Savage Eye
    The Savage Eye
    The Savage Eye is a "dramatized documentary" film that superposes a dramatic narration of the life of a divorced woman with documentary camera footage of an unspecified 1950s city. In a 1960 review, A. H...

  • The Great Impostor
    The Great Impostor
    The Great Impostor is a 1961 movie based on the true story of an impostor named Ferdinand Waldo Demara.Loosely based on Robert Crichton's 1959 biography of the same name, it stars Tony Curtis in the title role, directed by Robert Mulligan....

  • The Pleasure of His Company
    The Pleasure of His Company
    The Pleasure of His Company is a comedy film starring Fred Astaire and Debbie Reynolds, released by Paramount Pictures. It is based on the 1958 play of the same name by Samuel A. Taylor and Cornelia Otis Skinner.-Plot:...

  • Mysterious Island (1961)
  • A Girl Named Tamiko
    A Girl Named Tamiko
    A Girl Named Tamiko is a 1962 drama film directed by John Sturges.He was half Oriental...but he used the women of two continents WITHOUT SHAME OR GUILT!....

  • The Searching Eye (1964)
  • Catacombs
    Catacombs, human-made subterranean passageways for religious practice. Any chamber used as a burial place can be described as a catacomb, although the word is most commonly associated with the Roman empire...

  • Ride Beyond Vengeance
    Ride Beyond Vengeance
    Ride Beyond Vengeance is a 1966 western film. It stars Chuck Connors, Michael Rennie, Kathryn Hays and Bill Bixby.The film was directed by Bernard McEveety and produced by Andrew J. Fenady from the story "The Night of the Tiger" by Al Dewlen. Glenn Yarbrough sang the title song vocals. It was...

  • Destination Inner Space (1966)
  • Clambake
    Clambake is a 1967 musical film starring Elvis Presley, and co-starring Shelley Fabares and Bill Bixby—the last of his four films for United Artists. The movie reached No. 15 on the national weekly box office charts.-Plot:...

  • The Incident (1967)
  • The Last Challenge
    The Last Challenge (1967)
    The The Last Challenge is a 1967 Metrocolor Western directed by Richard Thorpe, starring Glenn Ford and Angie Dickinson. The town sheriff Blaine contends with his reputation as the "fastest gun in the West."-Plot:...

  • The Secret of the Sacred Forest (1970)
  • The Power
    The Power (film)
    The Power is a 1968 film based on the science fiction novel The Power by Frank M. Robinson. It stars George Hamilton and Suzanne Pleshette.-Plot:...

  • Più tardi, Claire, più tardi (1968)
  • Amarsi male
    Amarsi male
    A Wrong Way to Love is a 1969 Italian drama film. It was directed by Fernando Di Leo. It stars Nieves Navarro, Gianni Macchia, Micaela Pignatelli, Lucio Dalla, and Lea Lander....

  • Huckleberry Finn
    Huckleberry Finn (1974 film)
    Huckleberry Finn is the 1974 musical film version of Mark Twain's American classic, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.The movie was produced by Reader's Digest and Arthur P. Jacobs and starred Jeff East as Huckleberry Finn and Paul Winfield as Jim...

  • Thieves (1977)
  • September Song (1984)


Merrill's television work spanned from 1953-1980. Most of his appearances were in guest-star roles in episodic and anthology series. Among the programs in which Merrill appeared are: The 20th Century-Fox Hour, Wagon Train
Wagon Train
Wagon Train is an American Western series that ran on NBC from 1957–62 and then on ABC from 1962–65...

, Studio 57
Studio 57
Studio 57 was the name of an American television series that was broadcast on the now-defunct DuMont Television Network.The program was a filmed anthology television series sponsored by Heinz 57 and produced by Revue Studios...

, Studio One
Studio One (TV series)
Studio One is a long-running American radio–television anthology series, created in 1947 by the 26-year-old Canadian director Fletcher Markle, who came to CBS from the CBC.-Radio:...

, Playhouse 90
Playhouse 90
Playhouse 90 is an American television anthology series that was telecast on CBS from 1956 to 1960 for a total of 133 episodes. It originated from CBS Television City in Los Angeles, California...

, Alcoa Theatre
Alcoa Theatre
Alcoa Theatre is a half-hour anthology series telecast on NBC at 9:30 pm on alternate Monday nights from October 7, 1957 to September 16, 1960. The program also aired under the title Turn of Fate, with the stories depicting the difficulties faced by individuals who are suddenly thrust into...

, Rawhide
Rawhide (TV series)
Rawhide is an American Western series that aired for eight seasons on the CBS network on Friday nights, from January 9, 1959 to September 3, 1965, before moving to Tuesday nights from September 14, 1965 until January 4, 1966, with a total of 217 black-and-white episodes...

, Laramie
Laramie (TV series)
Laramie is an American Western television series that aired on NBC from 1959 to 1963. Laramie was a Revue Studios production which originally starred John Smith as Slim Sherman, Robert Fuller as Jess Harper, Hoagy Carmichael as Jonesy and Robert Crawford, Jr...

, Sam Benedict
Sam Benedict
Sam Benedict is an American legal drama that aired on NBC from September 1962 to March 1963. The series was created and executive produced by E. Jack Neuman....

, Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Alfred Hitchcock Presents is an American television anthology series hosted by Alfred Hitchcock. The series featured dramas, thrillers, and mysteries. By the premiere of the show on October 2, 1955, Hitchcock had been directing films for over three decades...

(the episode "Manacled" original air date 1957), Zane Grey Theater, The Twilight Zone
The Twilight Zone (1959 TV series)
The Twilight Zone is an American anthology television series created by Rod Serling, which ran for five seasons on CBS from 1959 to 1964. The series consisted of unrelated episodes depicting paranormal, futuristic, dystopian, or simply disturbing events; each show typically featured a surprising...

, General Electric Theater
General Electric Theater
General Electric Theater is an American anthology series hosted by Ronald W. Reagan that was broadcast on CBS radio and television. The series was sponsored by General Electric's Department of Public Relations.-Radio:...

, Ben Casey
Ben Casey
Ben Casey is an American medical drama series which ran on ABC from 1961 to 1966. The show was known for its opening titles, which consisted of a hand drawing the symbols "♂, ♀, *, †, ∞" on a chalkboard, as cast member Sam Jaffe intoned, "Man, woman, birth, death, infinity." Neurosurgeon Joseph...

, Combat!, The Outer Limits, Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre
Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre
Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre is an anthology television series, sponsored by Chrysler Corporation, which ran on NBC from 1963 through 1967...

, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (TV series)
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea is a 1960s American science fiction television series based on the 1961 film of the same name. Both were created by Irwin Allen, which enabled the movie's sets, costumes, props, special effects models, and sometimes footage, to be used in the production of the...

, The Time Tunnel
The Time Tunnel
The Time Tunnel is a 1966–1967 U.S. color science fiction TV series. The show was created and produced by Irwin Allen, his third science fiction television series. The show's main theme was Time Travel Adventure. The Time Tunnel was released by 20th Century Fox and broadcast on ABC. The show ran...

, Marcus Welby, M.D.
Marcus Welby, M.D.
Marcus Welby, M.D. is an American medical drama television program that aired on ABC from September 23, 1969, to July 29, 1976. It starred Robert Young as a family practitioner with a kind bedside manner, and was produced by David Victor and David J. O'Connell...

, Medical Center
Medical Center (TV series)
Medical Center is a medical drama series which aired on CBS from 1969 to 1976.-Synopsis:The show starred James Daly as Dr. Paul Lochner and Chad Everett as Dr. Joe Gannon, surgeons working in an otherwise unnamed university hospital in Los Angeles. The show focused both on the lives of the doctors...

, Kung Fu
Kung Fu (TV series)
Kung Fu is an American television series that starred David Carradine. It was created by Ed Spielman, directed and produced by Jerry Thorpe, and developed by Herman Miller, who was also a writer for, and co-producer of, the series...

, and Cannon
Cannon (TV series)
Cannon is a CBS detective television series produced by Quinn Martin which aired from March 26, 1971 to March 3, 1976.The primary protagonist was the title character, Frank Cannon, played by William Conrad....


Merrill also served as narrator
A narrator is, within any story , the fictional or non-fictional, personal or impersonal entity who tells the story to the audience. When the narrator is also a character within the story, he or she is sometimes known as the viewpoint character. The narrator is one of three entities responsible for...

 of the 1972–73 syndicated TV series The American Adventure.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.