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Hollywood Star from Covington to Be Commemorated in Downtown Mural

If you don't know the name Una Merkel, you should.

The Covington native became a household name in 1930s cinema, often portraying wisecracking best-friends and other supporting roles. She won the 1956 Tony Award for Supporting Actress (The Ponder Heart) and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1961 (Summer and Smoke). 

She shared the screen with such names as Lillian Gish, Ginger Rogers, and Debbie Reynolds.

Merkel has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and soon, she will have an honor in her native Covington.

A mural, 21 ft. by 8 ft., will be installed in the Arcade between Pike and Seventh Streets downtown. The project is spearheaded by Jerod Theobald, owner of men's shop flow and Cutman Barbershop nearby, and is designed by Austin Dunbar of Durham Brands. The project received funding from anonymous philanthropists CovingTen.

The mural will be unveiled at Art Off Pike in September and a new lighting plan will be created for the Arcade in conjunction with the mural. Plume Interiors + Light are being consulted for that aspect of the project, Theobald said during a presentation to the Covington City Commission on Tuesday. The mural must go before the urban design review board on Monday. Theobald said he would seek another grant to install lighting to highlight the mural and to improve safety and energy efficiency.

The mural will be installed the first week of September by Virgina-based muralist Shaylen Broughton.

The Los Angeles Times profiled Merkel as part of their series on the Walk of Fame, and that can be read by clicking here.

Merkel died in Los Angeles in 1986. She was 82. She is buried in Highland Cemetery in Ft. Mitchell.

Slideshow Images & Captions: 
Rendering of Una Merkel mural