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Ted Hartley

ted hartley, ted hartley and dina merrill photo
US Naval Academy

Harvard Business School Occupation Fighter pilot, actor, businessman, film and stage producer Years active 1945–present Spouses Dina Merrill
m1989-2017; her death Website Ted Hartley

Theodore Ringwalt "Ted" Hartley born November 6, 1924 has been a US Navy fighter pilot, an investment banker, an actor, film producer, and is currently CEO of RKO Pictures He was married to heiress, actress and philanthropist Dina Merrill1


  • 1 Early life
  • 2 Career
    • 21 Producer credits
      • 211 Film
      • 212 Stage Productions
  • 3 References
  • 4 External links

Early lifeedit

Hartley was born in Omaha, Nebraska and raised on a farm in Iowa His father died when he was 5, causing financial hardships for the family At the age of 14, he entered a contest sponsored by Warner Bros, wrote a 50-word essay on “Why I like to fly”, and won some flying lessons Hartley attended Shattuck Military School in Minnesota, and by the age of 16 he had won an appointment to the US Naval Academy After flight training, among other tours, he served as a carrier-based fighter pilot, flying F-11s following their introduction in 1956


As a Navy officer, Hartley had tours as a congressional liaison for the Pentagon, as a Presidential aide, as well as a carrier-based fighter pilot In May 1964, his F9F8 fighter crashed during a carrier landing accident He was thrown from the jet, suffered a broken back, and was medically retired from the Navy2 Hartley's military career prematurely ended, he attended Harvard Business School and pursued a career in investment banking, becoming Vice President for First Western Financial Corporation

His next career was in Hollywood, as an actor, where he took on the role of Reverend Jerry Bedford on the 1960s television series Peyton Place Hartley had minor roles in films with Cary Grant, Robert Redford and Clint Eastwood, and then in the late 1970s was cast in his own series, ABC's Chopper One, about helicopter flying police officers The series was short lived, and thereafter Hartley moved to Aspen, Colorado, where he volunteered as the Managing Artistic Director of the local theater, and then turned to commodity trading full-time

In 1987 he became involved with Pavilion Communications Inc, a company designed to acquire smaller entertainment companies Through this, Hartley learned of an opportunity to take over RKO Pictures He and his wife, Dina Merrill, purchased 51% of the company and merged Pavilion Communications with RKO Pictures Corporation in 1991, forming RKO Pictures, LLC Their first major project was the 1998 remake of Mighty Joe Young As chairman and chief executive office of RKO Pictures, Hartley has led RKO's worldwide development and production activities in movies and television as well as the expansion of the RKO brand to stage and other entertainment and distribution venues He produced Mighty Joe Young 1998 with Disney, Ritual 2000 with Miramax, The Magnificent Ambersons 2002, and Shade 2003, starring Jamie Foxx, Melanie Griffith, and Sylvester Stallone, among others For RKO Stage, Hartley produced the musicals Never Gonna Dance 2003, Curtains 2007, Gypsy 2008, 13 2008, all on Broadway, and Top Hat 2012 in the West End, winner of the 2013 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical3

In 2013 he was appointed chairman of the board of Orbis International, a nonprofit eye-healthcare organization dedicated to saving sight worldwide that he has been involved with since 20104 Hartley belongs to a number of motion picture and television guilds and associations, is a board member of the Steadman Philippon Research Institute formerly, Steadman-Hawkins Sports Medicine Foundation, and serves as director of the Harvard Business School Association of Southern California Hartley is also a frequent lecturer and is published periodically in business journals He is also a published poet as well as a creator of stories for the screen5

Producer creditsedit


  • Barely Lethal producer
  • A Late Quartet producer
  • Beyond a Reasonable Doubt producer
  • Are We Done Yet producer
  • Laura Smiles producer
  • Shade producer
  • The Gin Game executive producer
  • The Magnificent Ambersons executive producer
  • Ritual producer
  • Mighty Joe Young producer
  • Milk & Money producer
  • False Identity executive producer
  • Women And Men: Stories Of Seduction executive producer

Stage Productionsedit

  • Never Gonna Dance - 2003 Broadway musical
  • Curtains - 2007 Broadway musical
  • Gypsy - 2008 Broadway musical revival starring Patti Lupone
  • 13 - 2008 Broadway musical
  • Top Hat - 2012 West End Musical


  1. ^ Samantha Miller, Danelle Morton and Vicki Sheff-Cahan April 19, 1999 "Encore, Encore: Now behind the camera, Dina Merrill and Ted Hartley make movie magic together" PDF People magazine People magazine Retrieved 19 April 2012 
  2. ^ Hartley, Ted "Life Notes, Biography" tedhartleycom Theodore R Hartley Retrieved 20 July 2016 
  3. ^ "Olivier Award Winners 2013 – Best New Musical" olivierawards 28 April 2013 Retrieved 24 September 2015 
  4. ^ Bogusz, Christopher 6 August 2013 "Ted Hartley appointed chairman of Orbis International board of directors" Orbis Retrieved 21 November 2014 
  5. ^ Hartley, Ted "Life Notes, Biography" tedhartleycom Theodore R Hartley Retrieved 20 July 2016 

External linksedit

  • Personal website
  • Ted Hartley on Internet Movie Database
  • Ted Hartley at the Internet Broadway Database
  • "Ted Hartleyand the Rebirth of RKO Studios"
  • "Flight of Fancy: Ted Hartley, who came to Hollywood as an actor and left for investing, has found running the legendary RKO studio rife with challenges", July 8, 2002, Los Angeles Business Journal
  • People magazine, April 19, 1999 pdf
  • US Naval Academy Alumni Association newsletter, "Ted Hartley '46" pdf

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