Mid-1940s. Inscribed “If there’s a doctor in the house, I hope it’s DR. RESS! Best Always, Lynn Merrick”
Lynn, blonde and blue-eyed, dedicates this photo to Dr Ress around the time she weds former matinee idol Conrad Nagel. She is 24 years old, he is 48. The marriage won’t last long. In 1948 they will divorce, with Lynn claiming Nagel made her “feel like a guest in the house,” and that he forbade her to go shopping.
By then, she will already have met Robert Goelet, heir to one of America’s great fortunes. On their marriage in 1949, he will be disinherited by his mother, Donna Fernanda di Villa Rosa, the Princess Riabouchinsky of Florence. Just as well from the family’s point of view because the marriage will be brief and stormy. The following year she will swallow 10 sleeping pills because she is “mad” at her husband and has “family trouble.” She will be rushed to hospital, where she will make a full recovery. And a second divorce will ensue.
What about her career? She was born and christened Marilyn Llewelling in 1921 and later moved from Fort Worth to California. There she studied acting, worked as a model and was chosen to be a “Baby Star” by the Motion Picture Publicists Association.
Signed up by Republic Pictures, she is rechristened Lynn Merrick and appears in a string westerns opposite Don “Red” Barry before moving on to Columbia Pictures who cast her in a series of mysteries and lightweight comedies. The 1940s are her heyday, with the sailors in the torpedo shop at San Diego Naval Air Station dubbing her their “Zoom Girl’ in 1944.
After her last film at Columbia, I Love Trouble (1948) she will do some film and television work in Europe and appear in summer theatre in the US for a time. And she will follow that up by working in the fashion industry in New York and, from 1967 to 1974, as an executive field director for the Barbizon School of Modeling.