Born in Covington, Kentucky, Merkel resembled the popular actress Lillian Gish, and her resemblance allowed her to enter films in 1920 as Gish's double in the film Way Down East. She appeared in several films during the silent era but spent most of her time in New York working on Broadway. She returned to Hollywood and achieved her greatest success with the advent of talkies. She played Ann Rutledge in the 1930 film Abraham Lincoln and during the 1930s became a popular second lead in a number of films, usually playing the wisecracking best friend of the heroine.
Her career went into decline during the 1940s and although she continued working it was in less prestigious productions. She made a comeback as a middle aged woman playing mothers and maiden aunts, and in 1956 won a Tony Award for her role in The Ponder Heart. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Summer and Smoke (1961). Her final film role was in the 1966 Elvis Presley film Spinout.
She died in Los Angeles, California.
Una Merkel has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contributions to Motion Pictures, at 6230 Hollywood Boulevard.
Una Merkel Facts
|Birthday||December 10, 1903|
|Birthplace||Covington, Kentucky, USA|
|Date of death||January 2, 1986 (age 82)|
|Height||5' 4" (1m63) How tall is Una Merkel compared to you?|