David Merrick

Producer, Lawyer
David Merrick's gift for producing scores of wildly successful plays and musicals was not the only factor that assured him a place in the annals of Broadway. Dubbed the 'Abominable Showman', the Tony Award-winning ... Read more »
Born: 11/27/1911 in St Louis, Missouri, USA

Filmography

Producer (5)

Rough Cut 1980 (Movie)

(Producer)

Semi-Tough 1979 - 1980 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Semi-Tough 1979 - 1980 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Great Gatsby 1973 (Movie)

(Producer)

Child's Play 1972 (Movie)

(Producer)
Actor (2)

Annie and the Hoods 1974 - 1975 (TV Show)

Actor

Variety (TV Show)

Actor

Biography

David Merrick's gift for producing scores of wildly successful plays and musicals was not the only factor that assured him a place in the annals of Broadway. Dubbed the 'Abominable Showman', the Tony Award-winning producer was equally well-known for his hot temper, abrasive personality, multiple stormy marriages and outrageous publicity stunts as he was for the popularity of the shows he financed.

Relationships

Sibling
had five, all older

Etan Aronson

Wife
separated c. 1985 divorced in 1999

Leonore Beck

Wife
Met when Merrick was attending law school Married divorced

Jeanne Gibson

Wife
divorced

Natalie Lloyd

Wife
became a couple in 1989 Married by proxy Nov. 23, 1999 until his death 2000

Samuel Margulois

Father
divorced from Merrick's mother c. 1923

Celia Margulois

Mother
divorced from Merrick's father c. 1923

Marguerite Merrick

Daughter
born c. 1972 mother, Etan Aronson

Cecelia Merrick

Daughter
born c. 1962 mother, Jeanne Gilbert

Karen Pruncziik Actor

Wife
Briefly married in the early 1980s divorced

EDUCATION

St Louis University

St Louis, Missouri

Washington University

St Louis, Missouri
won playwriting contest in sophomore year; classmates included Tennessee Williams

Milestones

1996

Helped finance last musical production, "State Fair", a flop based on the 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein movie; sued the Tony Awards for ruling the show's score ineligible for award consideration

1990

Produced the critically panned musical revival, "Oh Kay!"

1989

"42nd Street" closed after 3,500 performances

1983

Had stroke and was confined to a wheelchair, barely able to speak

1981

Won Tony for Best Musical for "42nd Street"

1981

Produced stage play "I Won't Dance"

1980

Financed the blockbuster musical "42nd Street"; announced at the curtain call on opening night that Gower Champion, the show's director and choreographer, had died earlier that day

1980

Produced second Burt Reynolds film, "Rough Cut"

1977

Produced movie "Semi-Tough", the first of two movies starring Burt Reynolds

1976

Honored with Tony Award for producing the Tom Stoppard play "Travesties"

1975

Backed "Very Good Eddy, "Travesties" and "The Misanthrope"

1974

Produced film version of "The Great Gatsby", starring Robert Redford

1974

Financed stage productions of "Mack and Mabel" and "Dreyfus in Rehearsal"

1973

Produced the play "Out Cry"

1972

Served as producer of the film version of "Child's Play"

1972

Backed "There's One in Every Marriage", "Moonchildren", "Sugar" and "Vivat! Vivat Regina!"

1970

Financed "Four in a Garden", "A Midsummer Night's Dream", and "The Philanthropist"

1969

Backed a stage production of "Child's Play"

1968

Backed "Promises, Promises", "Play It Again, Sam", and "Private Lives"

1968

Produced "Forty Carats"

1968

Won Tony for producing the Tom Stoppard play "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead"

1967

Financed "How Now, Dow Jones", "The Happy Time", and "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead"

1967

Replaced entire cast of "Hello, Dolly!" with an all-black company headed by Pearl Bailey

1966

Appeared on the cover of <i>Time</i> magazine

1966

Produced "Don't Drink the Water" and "I Do! I Do!"

1965

Produced "Pickwick", "The Roar of the Greasepaint - The Smell of the Crowd", "Inadmissible Evidence", "Cactus Flower", and "Marat/Sade"

1964

Backed "Oh, What a Lovely War"

1964

Honored with two Tony Awards for produciong the musical "Hello, Dolly!" and the play "Luther"

1963

Produced "Hello, Dolly!", "Rehearsal", "Luther", "110 in the Shade", and "Arturo Ui"

1962

Produced the musical "I Can Get It for You Wholesale", which helped launch the career of 19-year-old supporting player Barbra Streisand; also financed "Stop the World - I Want to Get off", "Tchin Tchin" and "Oliver!"

1961

Produced "Carnival!", "Sunday in New York", "Ross", and "Subways Are for Sleeping"

1961

Wined and dined audience members with the same names as NYC's most powerful theater critics so he could get them to make kind remarks about his critically panned musical "Subways Are for Sleeping"; then used the encomia in an advertising campaign

1961

Won Tony Award for producing the Jean Anouilh play, "Becket"

1960

Financed "The Good Soup", "Irma La Douce", "Vintage '60", "A Taste of Honey", "Becket", and "Do Re Mi"

1958

Backed "The Entertainer" and "The World of Suzie Wong", "La Plume de Ma Tante", "Epitaph for George Dillon", Destry Rides Again", "Gypsy" and "Maria Golovin"

1958

Boosted ticket sales for his production of "The World of Suzie Wong" by hiring protesters to picket outside theater where Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Flower Drum Song" was playing; the "demonstrators" claimed racial stereotypes were being exploited in the

1957

Boosted ticket sales for "Look Back in Anger" by hiring an actress to pose as an audience member and attack an actor during a performance

1957

Produced "Romanoff and Juliet" and "Jamaica"

1955

Produced successful stage version of Thorton Wilder's "The Matchmaker", which would later serve as the basis for the Tony Award-winning musical "Hello, Dolly!"

1954

Used outrageous publicity stunts to sell tickets for "Fanny", his first major Broadway musical which starred Ezio Pinza and Florence Henderson

1949

Produced play, "Clutterbuck", which ran for six months despite lukewarm reviews from theater critics

1946

Became general manager for director and producer Herman Shumlin

1944

Co-produced first Broadway show, "Bright Boy"

1940

Invested $5,000 in James Thurber's comic play,"The Male Animal", which became a huge hit; saw a $20,000 return on his investment

1940

Paid homage to the great 18th-century English actor, David Garrick, by adopting name of David Merrick

1939

Left St Louis with first wife, Leonore Beck, and headed for NYC

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