Gary Merrill Biography
Gary Fred Merrill (August 2, 1915 – March 5, 1990) was an American film and television actor with over 50 feature film credits, a half-dozen mostly short-lived television series, and dozens of television guest appearances. Merrill co-starred in All About Eve and married Bette Davis.
Gary Merrill Family
Merrill grew up in Hartford, Connecticut, and went to Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, and Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. While still serving in the United States Army Air Forces, he made his acting debut in the play Winged Victory in 1944.
Gary Merrill Career
Merrill’s deep cultured voice earned him a recurring role as Batman in the Superman radio series before entering the film industry.
His film career began promisingly, with roles in Twelve O’Clock High (1949) and All About Eve (1950), but he never advanced beyond supporting roles in his many Westerns, war films, and medical dramas. He had a lengthy television career. From 1954 to 1956, he played Jason Tyler on the crime drama Justice.
Merrill appeared as Joshua and Emily Newton in the Cimarron City episode “Medicine Man” in 1958, alongside June Lockhart.
Merrill had recurring roles in Michael Parks’ Then Came Bronson and Young Doctor Kildare, both of which lasted less than a season.
In addition to his appearances in several episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Merrill appeared in a memorable episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour in November 1963, alongside Phyllis Thaxter and Fess Parker (Daniel Boone) (“Nothing Ever Happens in Linvale”).
He played city editor Lou Sheldon in the short-lived drama The Reporter in 1964. He co-starred with James Gregory in the Elvis Presley film Clambake in 1967.
Merrill essentially retired from the entertainment industry after 1980, with the exception of an occasional narrator role. He published his autobiography Bette, Rita, and the Rest of My Life shortly before his death (1989).
Gary Merrill Net Worth at Death
Gary was estimated to have a net worth of $3 million dollars at the time of his death. He had accumulated his net worth with the versatility he had shown in each field he had worked in. His main source of earnings was from his journalism career.
Gary Merrill Wife and Personal Life
Merrill’s first marriage, to Barbara Leeds, ended in divorce on July 28, 1950, in Mexico. On the same day, he married Bette Davis, his All About Eve co-star, and adopted her daughter Barbara from a previous marriage. He and Davis had two more children, Margot and Michael, before divorcing in 1960.
He was frequently politically active, and in 1958 he campaigned for Democrat Edmund Muskie to be elected governor of Maine.
Merrill also marched from Selma to Montgomery in 1965 to promote Black voter registration. In response to President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Vietnam War policy, he ran unsuccessfully for the Maine legislature as an anti-war, pro-environmentalist primary candidate.
Merrill outlived his second ex-wife, Bette Davis, by only five months, dying of lung cancer on March 5, 1990, in Falmouth, Maine. He was laid to rest in the Pine Grove Cemetery. He is survived by his son Michael, daughter Margot, brother Jerry, and two grandchildren.
This Is the Army (1943) – Backstage MP on Right (uncredited)
Winged Victory (1944) – Capt. McIntyre
Slattery’s Hurricane (1949) – Cmdr. E.T. Kramer
Twelve O’Clock High (1949) – Col. Keith Davenport
Mother Didn’t Tell Me (1950) – Doctor Peter Roberts
Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950) – Tommy Scalise
All About Eve (1950) – Bill Sampson (A typographical error in the film’s credits lists the character’s name as “Simpson.)
Rawhide (1951) – Narrator (voice, uncredited)
The Frogmen (1951) – Lt. Cmdr. Pete Vincent
Another Man’s Poison (1951) – George Bates
Decision Before Dawn (1951) – Col. Devlin
Phone Call from a Stranger (1952) – David Trask
The Girl in White (1952) – Dr. Seth Pawling
Night Without Sleep (1952) – Richard Morton
A Blueprint for Murder (1953) – Fred Sargent
Witness to Murder (1954) – Lawrence Mathews
The Black Dakotas (1954) – Brock Marsh posing as Zachary Paige
The Human Jungle (1954) – Police Capt. John Danforth
Navy Wife (1956) – Jack Blain
Bermuda Affair (1956) – Bob Scoffield
The Missouri Traveler (1958) – Doyle Magee
Crash Landing (1958) – Capt. Steve Williams
The Wonderful Country (1959) – Maj. Stark Colton
The Savage Eye (1960) – The poet
The Great Impostor (1961) – Pa Demara
The Pleasure of His Company (1961) – James Dougherty
Mysterious Island (1961) – Gideon Spilitt
A Girl Named Tamiko (1962) – Max Wilson
Hong Kong un Addio (Farewell to Hong Kong, 1963)
The Searching Eye (1964) – Narrator
Catacombs (1965) – Raymond Garth
Ride Beyond Vengeance (1966) – Dub Stokes
Cast a Giant Shadow (1966) – Pentagon Chief of Staff (scenes deleted)
Destination Inner Space (1966) – Dr. LaSatier
Around the World Under the Sea (1966) – Dr. August ‘Gus’ Boren
The Last Challenge (1967) – Squint Calloway
Clambake (1967) – Sam
The Incident (1967) – Douglas McCann
The Power (1968) – Mark Corlane
Più tardi, Claire, più tardi (1968) – George Dennison
Amarsi male (1969)
The Secret of the Sacred Forest (1970) – Mike Parks
Earth II (1971) – Walter Dietrich
Huckleberry Finn (1974) – Pap
Thieves (1977) – Street Man
The Seekers (1979) – Capt. Hull
September Song (1984)
The 20th Century-Fox Hour
Playhouse 90, Alcoa Theatre
Alfred Hitchcock Presents (numerous episodes, including “Man With A Problem” 1957 and “O Youth and Beauty” 1960)
Zane Grey Theater
The Twilight Zone (episode “Still Valley” as Confederate soldier Joseph Paradine)
General Electric Theater
The Outer Limits
Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
The Time Tunnel
Marcus Welby, M.D.
The American Adventure (narrator, 1972–73)
The Valiant Years