His last Broadway venture was the musical Oh, Kay!, which many critics found anything but okay, and his pumping extra money into State Fair didn't win that musical a blue ribbon from audiences. But David Merrick can boast of a recent success: he's finally settled his divorce from Etan Merrick, his third and fifth spouse. That means Merrick can marry his longtime companion Natalie Lloyd, who co-runs the producer's philanthropic organizations.
Merrick's attorney, Lawrence Pollack, told the Daily News (Oct. 27), "I assume he [Merrick] plans to marry... Marriage is what he wants." PBOL could not yet reach Pollack, who was in court at press time, to confirm the settlement.
Although Etan Merrick was granted a divorce from her husband in 1995, she wouldn't finalize the judgment until questions of alimony and child support were sorted out. According to the Associated Press, Merrick's fortune is estimated at $14 million.
In June 1998, Merrick and Lloyd reorganized his philanthropic endeavors -- geared to create a breeding ground for new musicals -- into the David Merrick Foundations Group, which encompasses three different foundations: The David Merrick & Natalie Lloyd Foundation, a public charity; The David Merrick Arts Foundation, Inc., a not-for-profit theatre production unit; and The New American Musical, Inc., dedicated to developing new musicals for theatre, film and television. The latter organization has promised to hold competitions for new works, with cash awards and further development as the prize.
Merrick, now 88, started his initial foundation in 1959 with profits from such hits as Gypsy and Look Back in Anger. Among Merrick shows later supported by the Fund were Marat/Sade, A Taste of Honey, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead and Loot. Merrick's biggest Broadway hits include Hello, Dolly! and 42nd Street. Other shows include Fanny, Carnival, Promises, Promises and the ill-fated Breakfast At Tiffany's.