Gary Merrill and Adoption
1915 – 1990
Gary Merrill (August 2, 1915 - March 5, 1990) was a U. S. film and television actor whose credits included more than fifty feature films, a half-dozen mostly short-lived TV series, and dozens of TV guest appearances.
Born in Hartford, Connecticut, he began acting in 1944, while still in the United States Army. His film career began promisingly, with roles in films like Twelve O'Clock High (1949) and All About Eve (1950), but the bulk of his screen appearances were as second- or third-billed characters in formulaic Westerns, war movies, and medical dramas. His television career was equally routine: None of his series (which included Then Came Bronson and Young Doctor Kildare) lasted more than a season. Merrill was married twice, first to Barbara Leeds and then to Bette Davis. (He was Davis’ fourth husband.)
During the filming of All About Eve, the attraction between director Bill Sampson (Gary Merrill) and his leading lady (Bette Davis) led to an off-screen romance as well. Although Merrill and Davis were both married to others in 1950, by July 28, 1950, 34-year-old Merrill and 42-year-old Davis had won divorces from their respective spouses and were married to each other. They adopted two children, Margot and Michael, and eventually divorced in 1960.
Merrill died of lung cancer at Falmouth, Maine.
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