Friday, November 19, 2010

Una Merkel

Una Merkel (1903 - 1986) is one actress I cherish.  She had an enormous career spanning 1923 to 1968.  And no one era of hers is better than any other.  She was good in everything!

She made two silent films and then in 1930 was cast in the D. W. Griffith (1875 - 1948) movie, Abraham Lincoln, starring Walter Huston (1884 - 1950) in the title role. 

In 1931 Merkel is in an early sound version of The Maltese Falcon starring Ricardo Cortez (1900 - 1977) as Sam Spade.  That movie had quite a cast, including Bebe Daniels (1901 - 1971) famous for 42nd Street in 1933; Thelma Todd (1906 - 1935) who worked with Laurel and Hardy; and Dwight Frye (1899 - 1943) who played in the wonderful 1931 Carl Laemmle hits, Dracula and Frankenstein.  Una also appears in 42nd Street, her only Busby Berkeley film.

In 1939 we find her in a strong supporting role with Jimmy Stewart in Destry Rides Again (as you know, one of my favorites), and then she makes Some Like it Hot the same year with Bob Hope.  She works with Hope and Crosby in Road to Zanzibar in 1941.  As all fans of comedy know, she played Myrtle Souse in The Bank Dick, W. C. Fields' classic in 1940.

She appears in The Merry Widow twice.  In 1934 with Maurice Chevalier (1888 - 1972) and Jeannette MacDonald (1903 - 1965), and in 1952 with Lana Turner (1921 - 1995) and Fernando Lamas (1915 - 1982).

Television appearances start around 1952 in "Four Star Playhouse" and "Schlitz Playhouse."  Merkel will continue making movies and TV shows for the rest of her career. 

In 1961 she is cast in the Haley Mills (b. 1946) Brian Keith (1921 - 1997) movie The Parent Trap.  She made two other Disney films, Summer Magic (1963) again with Haley Mills, and A Tiger Walks (1964) again with Brian Keith

Una Merkel's final work of her 114 titles was in "I Spy" in 1968.  She was never a huge star, but her voice and talent, and her odd name which is apparently her real one, have kept her at the top of the Bit Actor list.


  1. She was really funny. I included Una in my poll asking for actresses that make you laugh the most :) You can vote here:

    Have a great day :)

  2. Thanks, Clara. Your blog is fun! Everyone should visit you in Chile! (I voted for Una.)


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