Una Merkel

Una Merkel (December 10, 1903 – January 2, 1986) was an American film actress.

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.


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Una Merkel has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contributions to Motion Pictures, at 6230 Hollywood Boulevard. Her contribution to the film industry has been recognized through a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She died in Los Angeles, California. Alla Nazimova died in 1945 in Los Angeles and was interred in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California. Her final film role was in the 1966 Elvis Presley film Spinout. With little choice, she gave up on the film industry, returning to perform on Broadway until the early 1940s when she appeared in a few more films, ostensibly in need of money. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Summer and Smoke (1961). By 1925 she no longer could afford to invest in more films and financial backers withdrew their support.

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. However, her creativity did not meet consumer tastes and the films lost a great deal of money. Her career went into decline during the 1940s and although she continued working it was in less prestigious productions. Daring for the times, in her adaptations of works by such notable playwrights as Oscar Wilde or Henrik Ibsen she instituted her own ideas for filmmaking. 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. In 1918, at age 39, Nazimova felt confident enough in her abilities that she began producing and writing films in which she also starred. She returned to Hollywood and achieved her greatest success with the advent of "talkies". Loyal Davis, Nazimova was made godmother to their daughter, former first lady Nancy Davis-Reagan.

She appeared in several films during the silent era but spent most of her time in New York working on Broadway. A friend of Edith Luckett and her husband, Dr. 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. Her studio squelched the stories surfacing about her bisexual lifestyle and to cover it up, for more than a dozen years she lived in a partnership of mutual convenience with the homosexual actor Charles Bryant. Una Merkel (December 10, 1903 – January 2, 1986) was an American film actress. She became widely gossiped about for the outlandish and allegedly debauched parties in her large mansion on Sunset Boulevard known as the Garden of Allah. Over the next few years she made a number of highly successful films that earned her a considerable amount of money.

She toured Europe as well the United States where her first Broadway performances in 1906 drew critical acclaim. Deciding to make the USA her home, she worked on stage until she made her silent film debut in 1916. Under the stage name, Alla Nazimova, her career blossomed and she married a fellow actor but it did not last long. As a teenager she began to pursue an interest in the theatre and took acting lessons before joining a theater company in Moscow. Her emotional distress caused her to rebel against authority as a way to gain attention but nonetheless, she was a talented child who was playing the violin by age seven.

She grew up in a very dysfunctional family and was shuffled between foster homes and relatives. Born Mariam Edez Adelaida Leventon, into a Jewish family in Yalta in the Crimea which at the time was a part of Russia but today is an autonomous region of Ukraine. Alla Nazimova, born May 22, 1879 - died July 13, 1945, was a Ukrainian born stage and film actress, scriptwriter, and producer.

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