Merle Oberon

Merle Oberon
International Pictures Corporation


Merle Oberon
Film: South side of the 6200 block of Hollywood Boulevard
Born Estelle Merle O'Brien Thompson on Feb. 19, 1911 in Mumbai, India
Died Nov. 23, 1979 of stroke in Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Calif.

Actress Merle Oberon's dark, ageless beauty brought her fame in such films as "Wuthering Heights" and "The Scarlet Pimpernel."

Oberon — who admitted to using false ages throughout her career — claimed to be the daughter of a British army officer who was born in Tasmania and educated in India. After her death, her secret was revealed. She was born a humble Bombay Anglo-Indian, a half-caste who because of the prejudices of her day forced her to conceal her mixed blood if she was to make her way in either show business or society.

In 1928, Oberon went to England, where she found work as a dance hostess, then as an extra and bit player in films.

During lunch at the British and Dominion Studios, she met Hungarian director Alexander Korda, who became the first of her five husbands. As Anne Boleyn in Korda's "The Private Life of Henry VIII," Oberon won critical acclaim.

Douglas Fairbanks selected her for his leading lady in "The Private Life of Don Juan." After finishing "The Scarlet Pimpernel," she came to Hollywood. Her first American picture was "Folies Bergere de Paris."

In 1939, she made "Wuthering Heights," her most famous film. Her costar was Laurence Olivier.

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Points of interest

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    Academy Awards

    Year Category Work
    1935 Best Actress The Dark Angel Nomination

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