Kieth Merrill

Last updated

Kieth W. Merrill
Born (1940-05-22) May 22, 1940 (age 81)
Farmington, Utah, U.S.
Education Bachelor of Arts
Alma mater Brigham Young University
  • Christianity
  • documentaries
  • fantasy
  • general fiction
  • historical fiction
Notable works The Great American Cowboy (1973)
The Wild West (1993)
Amazon (1997)
Various films for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Notable awards Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature Film (1973)
Years active1973–present

Kieth W. Merrill [1] (born May 22, 1940) [2] is an American filmmaker who has worked as a writer, director, and producer in the film industry since 1967. He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Directors Guild of America, and received an Academy Award for The Great American Cowboy (1973) and a nomination for Amazon (1997).


He published a novel, The Evolution of Thomas Hall, through Shadow Mountain in 2011. His first fantasy novel, The Immortal Crown, was published by Shadow Mountain in 2016.


The son of artist/landscape architect David Merrill and playwright/actress Leola Green Merrill, Kieth Merrill was born and raised in Farmington, Utah, a small, pioneer-founded town 20 miles north of Salt Lake City. [3]

As an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he served as a missionary for the church in Denmark for two-and-a-half years. [4] [5]

Merrill graduated in 1967 with a bachelor's degree from Brigham Young University (BYU). He is married to Dagny Johnson, and they are the parents of eight children. They reside in Northern California. [3] Merrill was commissioned by the LDS Church's First Presidency to produce the films Legacy and The Testaments for the state-of-the-art 70 mm Legacy Theater at Temple Square in Salt Lake City.[ citation needed ]

Merrill has been a member of the Board of Trustees of Southern Virginia University and president of the BYU Alumni Association. He received the Franklin S. Harris Fine Arts Award from BYU [6] when he delivered the commencement address to the BYU College of Fine Arts and Communications in 2007. [7]

In 2021, his refusal to watch Never Rarely Sometimes Always for Academy Awards consideration as a voting member garnered some attention. [8]


Merrill has done work in various formats, including IMAX and 70mm. He has created feature films, documentaries, television commercials, and miniseries. [9] [10]


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  1. Middle initial from Condie, Todd R. (Spring 2003). "A Philosophy of Storytelling". BYU Magazine. Retrieved June 11, 2009.
  2. "Kieth Merrill". allmovie. All Media Guide. Retrieved June 11, 2009.
  3. 1 2 "Kieth Merrill profile". Outstanding Alumni Profiles BYU College of Fine Arts and Communications . Retrieved June 11, 2009.
  4. "8-Day Norway Fjords "Lights of the Fjords" Cruise". Meridian Magazine . September 23, 2004. Archived from the original on February 25, 2006.
  5. Kelly, Brian. "Kieth Merrill: Great American Filmmaker". New Era : 10. Retrieved June 11, 2009.
  6. "Kieth Merrill profile" (wiki). College of Fine Arts and Communications History. Brigham Young University . Retrieved June 11, 2009.
  7. Merrill, Keith (2007). "Telling 'Out Story' to All the World". Meridian Magazine . Archived from the original on February 2, 2010. Retrieved December 25, 2015.
  8. "Director Eliza Hittman Calls Out Pro-Life Oscar Voter Who Refused to Watch Abortion Drama 'Never Rarely Sometimes Always'". February 27, 2021.
  9. "Kieth Merrill profile". Archived from the original on January 25, 2013. Retrieved December 27, 2015.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  10. "Kieth Merrill - Filmmaker". April 2, 2002. Retrieved December 27, 2015.
  11. "Session Timeout - Academy Awards® Database". Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved December 27, 2015.