Gary Merrill

Active - 1944 - 2018  |   Born - Aug 2, 1915   |   Died - Mar 5, 1990   |   Genres - Drama, Western, Action, Adventure, Crime

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Biography by Rovi

A rugged, craggy-faced, bushy-browed lead actor and character player, he began his stage career in 1937, which was interrupted by service in World War Two. He debuted onscreen in Winged Victory (1944), but did not begin regularly appearing in films until 1949; he was usually cast as grim, determined, humorless men in action features. From 1950-60 he was married to actress Bette Davis, with whom he appeared in three films. His many TV credits include a role in the series Young Dr. Kildare. He was politically active in liberal causes, and played a part in rejuvenating Maine's Democratic party; he also helped elect Edmund Muskie to governor of that state in 1953. In 1965 he took part in the Selma-Montgomery civil rights march. At odds with President Johnson's Vietnam policy, he switched parties and in 1968 tried unsuccessfully to win a Republican nomination to the Maine legislature as an anti-war, pro-environmentalist primary candidate. He authored an autobiography, Bette, Rita and the Rest of My Life (1989); "Rita" refers to actress Rita Hayworth, with whom he'd had a romantic affair.

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