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Merle Oberon

Merle Oberon

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Also Known As: Estelle Merle O'Brien Thompson Died: November 23, 1979
Born: February 19, 1911 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Tasmania, AU Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

The exotic and glamorous Merle Oberon ranked among the most striking performers during the early years of sound cinema in Britain. Beginning with her first notable turn in "The Private Life of Henry VIII" (1933), Oberon's popularity grew via additional hits like "The Scarlet Pimpernel" (1934), and her Academy Award-nominated performance in "The Dark Angel" (1936) established her as a star in America as well. Well cast as sophisticated, upper-class women, her look and deportment worked nicely in both period costume outings and contemporary drama. However, in what could have been a career-ending disaster, Oberon's face was damaged in a car accident during the making of "I, Claudius" (1937). Careful lighting and make-up helped to hide the imperfections and it was not long before she appeared in her most famous role as heroine Cathy in "Wuthering Heights" (1939). American films made up the lion's share of the actress' schedule during the 1940s, but aside from occasional artistic triumphs like "The Lodger" (1944), they were fairly unremarkable and caused Oberon's popularity to diminish. Her career proceeded by fits and starts from the late '40s onward and never entirely recovered, despite laudable work...

The exotic and glamorous Merle Oberon ranked among the most striking performers during the early years of sound cinema in Britain. Beginning with her first notable turn in "The Private Life of Henry VIII" (1933), Oberon's popularity grew via additional hits like "The Scarlet Pimpernel" (1934), and her Academy Award-nominated performance in "The Dark Angel" (1936) established her as a star in America as well. Well cast as sophisticated, upper-class women, her look and deportment worked nicely in both period costume outings and contemporary drama. However, in what could have been a career-ending disaster, Oberon's face was damaged in a car accident during the making of "I, Claudius" (1937). Careful lighting and make-up helped to hide the imperfections and it was not long before she appeared in her most famous role as heroine Cathy in "Wuthering Heights" (1939). American films made up the lion's share of the actress' schedule during the 1940s, but aside from occasional artistic triumphs like "The Lodger" (1944), they were fairly unremarkable and caused Oberon's popularity to diminish. Her career proceeded by fits and starts from the late '40s onward and never entirely recovered, despite laudable work from her in quality productions like "Berlin Express" (1948) and Désirée (1954). Oberon did not have the range of the finest actresses from that period, but she could be very effective in the right part and consistently dazzled the eye as one of Golden Age Hollywood's great beauties.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Interval (1973) Serena Moore
2.
 Hotel (1967) The Duchess
3.
 The Oscar (1966)
4.
 Epic That Never Was (I, Claudius), The (1965) Interviewee; Messalina ("I, Claudius")
5.
 Of Love and Desire (1963) Katherine Beckman
6.
 The Price of Fear (1956) Jessica Warren
7.
 Deep in My Heart (1954) Dorothy Donnelly
8.
 Désirée (1954) Josephine de Beauharnais
9.
 Affair in Monte Carlo (1953) Linda [Venning]
10.
 Pardon My French (1951) Elizabeth Rockwell
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1930:
Made film debut in "Alf's Button"
1933:
Played breakthrough role of Anne Boleyn in "The Private Life of Henry VIII" opposite Charles Laughton
1935:
First American film, "Folies Bergere" opposite Maurice Chevalier
:
At her peak of popularity: appeared in such vehicles as "Wuthering Heights" (1939), "Lydia" (1941), "A Song to Remember" (1945) and "This Love of Ours" (1945)
1948:
Last film for three years, "Berlin Express"
1951:
Returned to films to appear in "Pardon My French"
1963:
Returned to films after a seven year absence to act in "Of Love and Desire"
1973:
Last film, "Interval"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Alexander Korda. Producer, director, film executive. Married 1939, divorced 1945.
husband:
Lucien Ballard. Cinematographer. Married 1945-1949.
husband:
Robert Wolders. Actor. Appeared opposite Oberon in the 1973 feature film "Interval".

Bibliography close complete biography

"Charmed Lives: A Family Romance" Random House

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