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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:||Cast ... actor|
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.
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