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. She died from pneumonia in Woodland Hills, California. She died in Los Angeles, California. In December 1999, she appeared in the magazine Vanity Fair in an article about blacklist survivors. Her final film role was in the 1966 Elvis Presley film Spinout. She remained married to Gough until his death in 1984, and moved to the San Francisco Bay area late in life. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Summer and Smoke (1961). She maintained her political activism for the rest of her life, running unsuccessfully for government in 1954, but was never able to rebuild her acting career.

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. Her career came to an end in 1947, when she testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee and refused to answer questions about her alleged Communist Party membership. Her career went into decline during the 1940s and although she continued working it was in less prestigious productions. In 1943 she married the actor Lloyd Gough. 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. She was a frequent player in films until the end of the decade, and was married to director Charles Vidor from 1932 until 1943. She returned to Hollywood and achieved her greatest success with the advent of "talkies". Born Mildred Linton in Ottumwa, Iowa, Morley came to prominence in Hollywood films in the early 1930s, most notably in Mata Hari (1931), Scarface (1932), Arsene Lupin (1933), and Dinner at Eight (1934).

She appeared in several films during the silent era but spent most of her time in New York working on Broadway. Karen Morley (December 12, 1909 - March 8, 2003) 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. Una Merkel (December 10, 1903 – January 2, 1986) was an American film actress.

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