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Lynn Merrick

Real name:
Marilyn Merrick Llewelling
or
Mary Lewelling

1921 - 2007

(Courtesy of Jack Tillmany)



(From Old Corral collection)

Above - Lynn Merrick in a crop from a lobby card from the Don Barry DEAD MAN'S GULCH (Republic, 1943).


(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above - pressbook ad for TWO GUN SHERIFF (Republic, 1941) which was released in April, 1941 and was the first of sixteen oaters that Merrick did with Don Barry.


(From Old Corral collection)

Above are Lynn Merrick and Don Barry in a lobby card from DAYS OF OLD CHEYENNE (Republic, 1943).


Pretty Lynn Merrick had a movie career that ran from about 1940 - mid 1950s and consisted of about 45 films. And she's best remembered as the leading lady to Don Barry in sixteen westerns at Republic Pictures.

Biographies and family trees have her born in 1919, 1920, 1921 or 1922.

There's two birth certificates for Lynn, and both are available on ancestry.com:

  • The original from 1921 has "Mary Lewelling" born November 19, 1921 to T. E. Lewelling and Alberta [sic] McClure.
  • There's a June, 1942 Texas birth certificate correction and affidavit which has "Marilyn Merrick Llewelling" born November 19, 1921 in Fort Worth, Texas and parents were Truman E. Llewelling and Alverda Jane McClure.

Her mother Alverda had several siblings, including two sisters that became movie actresses. Grace McClure, stage name of "Linda March", did a few films including child roles in some silents. She died in a 1933 automobile accident in California. Oldest sister Ruth became "Adrienne Ames", and appeared in about thirty movies in the 1930s. Ames was married and divorced from actor Bruce Cabot, and after her film career ended, she settled in New York City as a radio commentator.

Lynn, mother Alverda, and grandmother Flora moved to Los Angeles in the mid 1930s. Lynn was interested in a modeling career and acting, and in late 1939, she signed a (brief) term player contract with Warner Bros. Her first film was an unbilled role in 'TIL WE MEET AGAIN (Warners, 1940) which starred Merle Oberon and George Brent.

The WAMPAS Baby Stars, a yearly selection of promising starlets, was conducted by The Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers from the early 1920s through the mid 1930s. Lynn was a "Baby Star" but not during the WAMPAS sponsorship. In 1940, the Motion Picture Publicists Association selected 13 "Baby Stars": Ella Bryan, Lucia Carroll, Peggy Diggins, Lorraine Elliott, Jayne Hazard, Joan Leslie, Kay Leslie, Gay Parkes, Lois Ranson, Sheila Ryan, Patricia Van Cleve, Tanya Widrin ... and Marilyn Merrick.

Merrick's primary screen time occurred in the early 1940s in 22 feature films for Republic Pictures and sixteen of those were Don Barry westerns. You can increase her Republic total to 23 as she was also one of many former "Baby Stars" in the short MEET THE STARS #2: BABY STARS (Republic, 1941).

A bit of trivia on Lynn's Republic work: her first with Barry was TWO GUN SHERIFF (Republic, 1941) with Barry playing dual roles as good / bad brothers (see pressbook ad on the left). And her finale with him was FUGITIVE FROM SONORA (Republic, 1943), with Don again doing double-duty as good / bad brothers (see lobby card further down this page).

After Republic, Lynn went to work at Columbia, and you can spot her in a dozen or so films including the mystery series of Boston Blackie (with Chester Morris), Whistler (with Richard Dix), and Crime Doctor (with Warner Baxter).

Trade publications had blurbs on her contracts ... and a name change:

  • November 15, 1939 Variety in the studio contract signing list: "November 14 (1939). Marilyn Merrick signed player pact at Warners."
  • January 22, 1941 Variety in their Chatter column: "Marilyn Merrick changed her screen name to Lynn Merrick."
  • April 9, 1941 Film Daily: "Signed to a long term contract at Republic, Lynn Merrick, formerly called Marilyn Merrick. She is now appearing in 'The Gay Vagabond,' and upon completion of that she will immediately go into 'Kansas Cyclone.' "
  • June 1, 1943 Film Daily reported that she signed a term player contract at Columbia.

According to Jack Mathis' book, Republic Confidential, Volume 2, The Players (Jack Mathis Advertising, 1992), Merrick's term player contract(s) at Republic Pictures ran for two years, from March 31, 1941 through March 30, 1943.

Lynn did an occasional role in Summer Stock theater including a 1947 Summer tour with her first husband, actor Conrad Nagel who was about twenty five years older than she. The August 6, 1947 Variety noted: "Conrad Nagel and Lynn Merrick starring in 'Petrified Forest' at Roosevelt theatre, Beacon, N. Y. week of Aug. 11 (1947)". She and Nagel divorced in 1948. Husband number two was Robert Goelet, Jr., but that pairing was troubled and the couple divorced in 1956. Lynn had no children.

Jack Tillmany adds some additional info on her screen career before and after her couple years at Republic:

... she appears in THROWING A PARTY, a July 1941 Warner Bros. 2-reeler, part of their Blue Ribbon Comedies series. I suspect this had actually been filmed the year before when she was working at Warners in TIL WE MEET AGAIN and FLIGHT ANGELS (both 1940), since it boasts an all Warner Bros. cast. Her last Hollywood film, Columbia's I LOVE TROUBLE, was completed in the summer of 1947, but not released until 1948. Her final film appearance in ESCAPE FROM TERROR (1954) is a real curiosity. Jackie Coogan produced and starred in it; it was filmed in Denmark, apparently while Lynn was in Europe; Gabriel Dell also found his way into it. It got sparse bookings, and the only review I found said it was not good at all.

After Hollywood, she worked in the New York fashion industry and served as an executive director for the Barbizon School of Modeling from 1967 to 1974.

The family-placed funeral notice in The Palm Beach Post newspaper noted that Lynn passed away on March 25, 2007 at her West Palm Beach, Florida home.





(From Old Corral collection)

In the above lobby card from THE SOMBRERO KID (Republic, 1942), John James has his arms around Lynn Merrick and on the right are Don Barry and Bob McKenzie, the father of western movie heroine Fay McKenzie.



(From Old Corral collection)

Don Barry's western series for Republic Pictures consisted of 29 films released during 1940 - 1944, and pretty Lynn Merrick did heroine duty in sixteen. Above is a photo of a lobby card from FUGITIVE FROM SONORA (Republic, 1943) showing Lynn with hero Don Barry who has his sixgun on baddie Ethan Laidlaw. FUGITIVE FROM SONORA was released in July, 1943 but filming occurred in March, 1943. It was the finale of Lynn's sixteen B westerns with Barry ... and was her last film under her 1941 - 1943 Republic contract(s).


Family trees on ancestry.com as well as various records have Lynn's parents as Alverda Jane McClure (1905 - 1949?) and Truman E. Llewelling / Lewelling (1903 - 1987).

But the trail is confusing due to last name variations which I've color coded as follows:
     Llewelling
     Lewelling
     Llewellyn / Lewellyn

Lynn Merrick's grandparents, mother, aunts, uncles.

1910 census has Lynn's mother Alverda McClure living in Fort Worth, Tarrant County, Texas. Family members are 39 year old Sam H. Mc Clure (born Texas; occupation "Stationary Engineer"), his 33 year old wife Flora P. (born Kentucky), 6 year old daughter Ruth (born Texas), 5 year old daughter Alverda (born Texas), 3 year old son Sam Hugh (born Texas), and 2 year old son Joe (born Texas): https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M23C-T22

1920 census - owning their home at 2908 Travis, Fort Worth, Texas are 48 year old Samuel H. McClure (born Texas; occupation "Engineer"), his 43 year old wife Friona [sic] (born Kentucky), 16 year old daughter Ruth (born Texas), 15 year old daughter Alverda (born Texas), 13 year old son Sam Hugh (born Texas), 11 year old son Joe (born Texas), 5 year old daughter Gladys (born Texas), and 3 year old son Woodrow (born Texas): https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MC9J-TJF

1930 census - owning their home at 5021 Vickery Boulevard, Dallas,Texas are 53 year old Flora C. McClure (born Kentucky; widowed), 24 year old daughter Alberta [sic] Lewellyn (born Texas; divorced; occupation "Stenographer"), 15 year old daughter Gladys (born Texas), and 14 year old son Woodrow (born Texas): https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:CWP1-S3Z

1940 census was taken May 9, 1940 - renting at 8652 Olympic Boulevard, Los Angeles are 63 year old widow Flora McClure, her 23 year old son Walter W., 34 year old daughter Jane Merrick (born Texas; occupation "Stenographer"), and 17 year old grand daughter Marylin [sic] Merrick (born Texas; 17 years old; occupation "Actress - Motion Pictures"). Jane Merrick is Lynn's mother, Alverda Jane McClure ... and with that Merrick last name, it appears she has re-married: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K9CL-RWH

June 5, 1960 Fort Worth Star-Telegram has funeral info on Alverda's mother (and Lynn Merrick's grandmother), 84 year old Flora McClure: https://www.newspapers.com/clip/79409981/fort-worth-star-telegram/

Find A Grave for Lynn's grandmother, Flora Parthenia Potter McClure (1876 - 1960), who is interred in the McClure Family Plot at Oakwood Cemetery, Fort Worth, Tarrant County, Texas: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/39354841/flora-parthenia-mcclure

Two of Lynn's aunts (her mother Alverda's
sisters) became Hollywood actresses.

Alverda's sister Gladys used a screen name of "Linda March", and she passed away in a 1933 automobile accident:

  Internet Movie Database (IMDb) for Gladys MacClure [sic]: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0531522/

Find A Grave for Gladys Ethel McClure (1914 - 1933) who is interred in the McClure Family Plot at Oakwood Cemetery, Fort Worth, Tarrant County, Texas: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/9376197/gladys-mcclure

December 5, 1933 Fort Worth Star-Telegram newspaper interment notice for Gladys McClure: https://www.newspapers.com/clip/79420670/1933-death-announcement-for-gladys/

Alverda's sister Ruth is the more famous. She became actress "Adrienne Ames", was married and divorced from actor Bruce Cabot, and wound up as a radio commentator in New York City:

  Internet Movie Database (IMDb) for Adrienne Ames: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0024669/

Find A Grave for Ruth Adrienne Ames (1903 - 1947) who is interred in the McClure Family Plot at Oakwood Cemetery, Fort Worth, Tarrant County, Texas: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/10330899/adrienne-ames

June 5, 1947 Fort Worth Star-Telegram newspaper interment notice for Adrienne Ames: https://www.newspapers.com/clip/79409604/fort-worth-star-telegram/

More on Lynn Merrick and her mother and father.
and there's two birth certificates on Lynn
and confusion with the spelling of surname Llewelling / Lewelling

Ancestry.com had the birth certificate for Lynn. She was born Mary Lewelling on November 19, 1921 at St. Joseph's Inf., Fort Worth, Texas to 19 year old T. E. Lewelling (occupation "Laborer") and 16 year old Alberta [sic] McClure (occupation "Housewife").

Then there's a June, 1942 Texas birth certificate correction and affidavit on Ancestry.com - Marilyn Merrick Llewelling was born November 19, 1921 at St. Joseph's Infirmary, Fort Worth, Texas and parents were Truman E. Llewelling (17 years old; occupation "Student") and Alverda McClure (16 years old; occupation "Student"). Signing the affidavit was Mrs. Sam Hugh McClure of Fort Worth, Texas (Alverda's sister-in-law).

Ancestry.com had the 1923 Fort Worth, Texas City Directory - Truman E. Lewelling and wife Verda live at 2908 Travis Avenue. Verda operates a millinery shop at that address. (That address is Flora McClure's home per the 1920 census above.)

July 29, 1927 Fort Worth Star-Telegram newspaper legal notices - Thurman [sic] Lewelling was granted a divorce from Alverda Lewelling: https://www.newspapers.com/clip/79420909/fort-worth-star-telegram/

Ancestry.com had the 1929 Dallas, Texas City Directory - Alverda McClure is a stenographer and lives at 5021 Vickery Boulevard. (That address is Flora McClure's home per the 1930 census above.)

February 28, 1933 Fort Worth Star-Telegram newspaper legal notices - amended judgement (with no details) in the divorce of Thurman [sic] Lewelling and Alverda Lewelling: https://www.newspapers.com/clip/79699267/fort-worth-star-telegram/

Ancestry.com had the World War II draft registration dated February 14, 1942 for 38 year old Truman Earnest Llewelling. He was born November 25, 1903 in Eastland, Texas; lives at 5364 Verona Street, Los Angeles; and works for the Wm. Ballard Construction Co. He signed the registration "Truman Earnest Llewelling".

Find A Grave has Truman E. Lewelling (1903 - 1987) interred at Pioneer Cemetery, Graham, Young County, Texas: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/49344233/truman-e-lewelling

Newspaper death notices and Find A Grave on Lynn Merrick.

The Los Angeles Times death notice for Lynn Merrick / Marilyn Merrick Llewelling: http://articles.latimes.com/2007/apr/02/local/me-merrick2

The Palm Beach (Florida) Post death notice on Lynn Merrick, "the daughter of Jane McClure and Truman Llewelling": https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/palmbeachpost/obituary.aspx?n=lynn-merrick&pid=86984318&fhid=5127

Find A Grave website notes that Merrick was cremated and ashes scattered at sea: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/18679379/lynn-merrick

Newspaper clippings on Lynn's marriages and divorces.

December, 1945 - Lynn Merrick (Marilyn Llewellyn) marries actor Conrad Nagel in New Jersey: https://www.newspapers.com/clip/79358011/actress-lynn-merrick-and-actor-conrad/

August, 1948 - divorce of Lynn and Conrad Nagel: https://www.newspapers.com/clip/79358029/1948-divorce-of-actress-lynn-merrick/

October, 1949 - Lynn elopes and marries Robert Goelet, Jr. in Europe: https://www.newspapers.com/clip/79358142/october-1949-elopement-and-marriage-of/

March, 1950 - Lynn is hospitalized after overdosing on sleeping pills after spat with husband Robert Goelet: https://www.newspapers.com/clip/79358191/actress-lynn-merrick-overdoses-on/

May, 1956 - Lynn Merrick files for divorce from Robert Goelet, Jr.: https://www.newspapers.com/clip/79358456/actress-lynn-merrick-files-for-divorce/

Links

  Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on Lynn Merrick: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0581218/

The Glamour Girls of the Silver Screen website includes timelines and more details on Lynn Merrick's film and personal life: http://www.glamourgirlsofthesilverscreen.com/show/428/Lynn+Merrick/index.html

The 225th AAA Searchlight Battalion website has pinup photos of WW2 era Hollywood stars and starlets of both A and B grade films. Here's several photos of Lynn Merrick:
http://www.skylighters.org/ggparade/lynnmerrick8.jpg
http://www.skylighters.org/puweek/index32.html

YouTube has a few Lynn Merrick films: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=%22lynn+merrick%22


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