MADISON, WI – The producers of the “The Hollywood Librarian: Librarians in Cinema and Society” announced today that Dina Merrill has agreed to be interviewed for the documentary about librarians.
The actress, now vice chairman of RKO Pictures, starred as “Sylvia Blair” in one of Hollywood’s more positive portrayals of librarians, together with Katharine Hepburn, Joan Blondell and Sue Randall. “Desk Set,” released in 1957, was Ms. Merrill’s film debut vehicle after nearly 10 years on Broadway. In the movie, all four women are seen as competent and professional research librarians as they navigate the reference department in the wake of a newly-installed, 1950’s computer.
Since her film debut, Ms. Merrill has acted in dozens of motion pictures, television shows and miniseries, as well as establishing her position as a leading philanthropist.
Ann Seidl, the writer and director of the documentary, says she was thrilled to talk with Ms. Merrill and delighted with her participation in the film. “‘Desk Set’ contains some of the most recognizable librarians in American cinema,” said Seidl. “And the issue of technology in libraries is one of the major themes of the movie and of the time period. Being able to talk with one of its stars on camera will add greatly to the documentary.”
Seidl plans to interview Ms. Merrill about the film set, her co-stars and the movie’s adaptation from the stage sometime in late summer or early fall in New York, where Ms. Merrill resides. Financing is being sought from documentary grantmakers and library corporations to fund this and other scheduled interviews with librarians and location shoots.