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. She is the co-founder of Children's Miracle Network with actor John Schneider. Throughout her life, Oberon maintained that she had been born in Tasmania, Australia. Currently, Marie hosts her own radio show, Marie and Friends, a nationally syndicated program. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contributions to Motion Pictures, at 6250 Hollywood Boulevard. The film was produced by Jimmy Osmond. She was interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California. She appeared as herself in the 2001 TV movie Inside the Osmonds, which showed how the brothers' egos, their father's fiscal mismanagement, and the family's quest to build a multi-media empire led to their downfall.

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 returned to television with brother Donny in 1998 to cohost the Donny and Marie Show, a talk/entertainment show that lasted two seasons. Merle Oberon divorced Sir Alexander Korda in 1945, to marry cinematographer Lucien Ballard. She garnered rave reviews as Anna in "The King and I" and Maria in "The Sound of Music" in the mid 90s, taking a break from her country music success. 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. She also starred in the TV movies "The Gift of Love" and "I Married Wyatt Earp". 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). Marie played her mother in the TV movie Side by Side: The True Story of the Osmond Family.

Merle Oberon was scarred for life, but skilled lighting technicians prevented her injuries being spotted by cinema audiences. She has also admitted to a not-always smooth relationship with her current husband. She was to star in Korda's film of I, Claudius (1937) as Messalina, but a serious car accident resulted in filming being abandoned. Perhaps the only dent in her squeaky-clean image is her divorce after 2 years of marriage (her religion, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints discourages divorce; her older brother, Tom, divorced his first wife). She received her only Academy Award for Best Actress nomination for The Dark Angel (1935). A regular on QVC, where her "Marie Osmond Fine Porcelain Collector Dolls" is its top-selling line, she has 8 children (5 adopted). 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. Her husband eventually reached her by cell phone, and convinced her to come home.

In 1934, she played the female lead in The Scarlet Pimpernel, opposite Leslie Howard. She became so despondent, she left her family, planning never to return. Her first major film role was as Anne Boleyn in The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933). In October 1999, she disclosed she suffered from severe postpartum depression following the birth of her son. Initially she worked as a club hostess under the name Queenie O'Brien and played in minor and unbilled rolls in various films. She and Donny also had a hit variety show, Donny & Marie (1976-1979). 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. She has charted with her brother Donny ("I'm Leaving It All Up To You"; "Deep Purple"), Dan Seals ("Meet Me in Montana"), and Paul Davis ("I Only Wanted You").

Merle Oberon (February 19, 1911 - November 23, 1979), born Estelle Merle O'Brien Thompson, was a film actress, known for her sultry looks. At age 13, her song "Paper Roses" debuted at #1, the first time in country music history a female artist had done that. The only daughter of George and Olive Osmond and the 8th of their 9 children, Marie has released many albums and appeared on television for over 40 years. Olive Marie Osmond (born October 13, 1959 in Ogden, Utah) is an American entertainer, a member of the show business family, The Osmonds.

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