Merle Oberon

Merle Oberon (February 19, 1911 - November 23, 1979), born Estelle Merle O'Brien Thompson, was a film actress, known for her sultry looks.

Born in Bombay, India to an Anglo-Irish father and an Anglo-Sinhalese mother, Constance Selby, who gave birth to Merle at the age of 15 and allowed her to be raised as her sister, Merle came to England for the first time in 1928. Initially she worked as a club hostess under the name Queenie O'Brien and played in minor and unbilled rolls in various films. Her first major film role was as Anne Boleyn in The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933). In 1934, she played the female lead in The Scarlet Pimpernel, opposite Leslie Howard.

Oberon's career went on to greater heights partly as a result of her relationship with and later marriage to director Alexander Korda, who had persuaded her to take the name under which she became famous. She received her only Academy Award for Best Actress nomination for The Dark Angel (1935). She was to star in Korda's film of I, Claudius (1937) as Messalina, but a serious car accident resulted in filming being abandoned. Merle Oberon was scarred for life, but skilled lighting technicians prevented her injuries being spotted by cinema audiences. She went on to appear as Cathy in Wuthering Heights (1939), as George Sand in A Song to Remember (1945), and as Empress Josephine in Désirée (1954). During her time as a film star, Oberon went to great lengths to disguise her mixed-race background and when her dark-skinned mother moved in with her in Hollywood, she masqueraded as Oberon's maid.

Merle Oberon divorced Sir Alexander Korda in 1945, to marry cinematographer Lucien Ballard. She married twice more, to Italian-born Mexican industrialist Bruno Pagliai (two adopted children) and Dutch actor Robert Wolders, before her retirement to Malibu, California, where she died after suffering a stroke. She was interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.

She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contributions to Motion Pictures, at 6250 Hollywood Boulevard.

Throughout her life, Oberon maintained that she had been born in Tasmania, Australia. It was only after her death that this was revealed to have been a fabrication.


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It was only after her death that this was revealed to have been a fabrication. Her notable roles include:. Throughout her life, Oberon maintained that she had been born in Tasmania, Australia.
. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contributions to Motion Pictures, at 6250 Hollywood Boulevard. This is one of her most famous roles playing Esmeralda alongside Laughton's Quasimodo. She was interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California. with Laughton where they both appeared in "The Hunchback of Notre Dame".

She married twice more, to Italian-born Mexican industrialist Bruno Pagliai (two adopted children) and Dutch actor Robert Wolders, before her retirement to Malibu, California, where she died after suffering a stroke. In 1939 she went to the U.S. Merle Oberon divorced Sir Alexander Korda in 1945, to marry cinematographer Lucien Ballard. Her first major film was to be Hitchcock's "Jamaica Inn". During her time as a film star, Oberon went to great lengths to disguise her mixed-race background and when her dark-skinned mother moved in with her in Hollywood, she masqueraded as Oberon's maid. As a result she was offered an initial seven year contract. She went on to appear as Cathy in Wuthering Heights (1939), as George Sand in A Song to Remember (1945), and as Empress Josephine in Désirée (1954). However he came around when he too found he couldn't forget her eyes so he thought she must have something.

Merle Oberon was scarred for life, but skilled lighting technicians prevented her injuries being spotted by cinema audiences. When he saw the tape he was furious as he believed it was a poor choice. She was to star in Korda's film of I, Claudius (1937) as Messalina, but a serious car accident resulted in filming being abandoned. Meanwhile Laughton looked at the test again and while he thought it was awful he couldn't forget her eyes. He told his business partner he was signing her and sent him the test tape. She received her only Academy Award for Best Actress nomination for The Dark Angel (1935). She returned to Ireland. Oberon's career went on to greater heights partly as a result of her relationship with and later marriage to director Alexander Korda, who had persuaded her to take the name under which she became famous. However she met Charles Laughton who believed she had something.

In 1934, she played the female lead in The Scarlet Pimpernel, opposite Leslie Howard. She performed poorly in the test. Her first major film role was as Anne Boleyn in The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933). At the screen test was the actor Charles Laughton. Initially she worked as a club hostess under the name Queenie O'Brien and played in minor and unbilled rolls in various films. Initially reluctant she was persuaded to attend. Born in Bombay, India to an Anglo-Irish father and an Anglo-Sinhalese mother, Constance Selby, who gave birth to Merle at the age of 15 and allowed her to be raised as her sister, Merle came to England for the first time in 1928. At the age of 17 she was offered a screen test in London.

Merle Oberon (February 19, 1911 - November 23, 1979), born Estelle Merle O'Brien Thompson, was a film actress, known for her sultry looks. She came from a theatrical family and began acting at the age of 14 with the Abbey Theatre in Dublin (Ireland's National Theatre). She often worked with director John Ford and longtime friend John Wayne. Born in Ranelagh, County Dublin, Ireland, the famously red-headed beauty is noted for playing fiercely passionate heroines with a highly sensible attitude. August 17, 1920), is an Irish-American film actress.

Maureen O'Hara, born Maureen FitzSimons (b. Only the Lonely (1991). Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation (1962). The Parent Trap (1961).

The Quiet Man (1952). Rio Grande (1950). Sitting Pretty (1948). Miracle on 34th Street (1947).

This Land Is Mine (1943). The Black Swan (1942). How Green Was My Valley (1941). The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939).

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