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Saturday, January 16, 2021

Emmy-winning Hollywood Stunt Coordinator and Chebanse native Merritt Yohnka dies

KANKAKEE – Emmy-winning Hollywood Stunt Coordinator and Chebanse native Merritt Yohnka has died. Yohnka had long been fighting two forms of Cancer at his time of death in California.

The announcement came Wednesday afternoon from the International Stunt Association. A graduate of Central High School, Merritt’s work was described by peers as ‘iconic.’

“You can do 10 great jobs, but one bad job will outweigh all those,” Yohnka said in a local interview before his death.

Yohnka won an Emmy twice for Outstanding Stunt Coordination for his work on NBC’s Chuck in 2008 and 2009 and was nominated for the award in 2010. An appearance in the 1995 film Star Trek Generations cemented his legacy among the data banks of Memory Alpha.

“Merritt was loved by so many in the film and television community and also had a significant impact on many of our careers as stunt professionals.” the International Stunt Association said in a statement. “Merritt will be missed tremendously!”

Beginning in 1987, Yohnka began his stunt career spanned three decades as he continued through 2019 as a Stunt Coordinator for Netflix’s Lucifer.  Other notable projects throughout his career included They Live (1988), Last Action Hero (1993), Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (1995), Nash Bridges (1996-2001), Spider-Man (2002), Transformers (2007), Chuck (2007-2011), Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), and Straight Outta Compton (2015).

Surviving are his wife, Cindy, and children Emily, Steven, and Garrett. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations to the Trevor Habberstad Foundation. The foundation had helped Merritt in the daunting fight against cancer.

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