Merle Oberon Profile
Two films Oberon made at Goldwyn directed by William Wyler featured some of her best work: These Three (1936), a worthy but altered adaptation of Lillian Hellman's The Children's Hour in which a scandalous lesbian romance was rewritten as a heterosexual triangle; and her best-remembered film, Wuthering Heights (1939), in which she played Kathy opposite Laurence Olivier's Heathcliff. Korda's epic version of I, Claudius, directed by Josef von Sternberg, was unfortunately was abandoned in mid-production after Oberon was seriously injured in a 1937 car crash.
Popular in both period and contemporary romances, Oberon's box-office lure in Hollywood continued through the mid-1940s with Julien Duvivier's lavish Lydia (1941), Dorothy Arzner's offbeat WWII story, First Comes Courage (1943), and her tempestuous turn as unconventional writer George Sand in A Song to Remember (1945). Her stardom, however, slipped later in the decade after several poor films which failed to capitalize on a persona which was half English rose and half headstrong, tormented lover. Ever glamorous, the jet-setting Oberon made intermittent screen appearances in the 1950s (Desiree 1954) and 60s (Of Love and Desire 1963) in mostly unmemorable films, typically as sophisticated, jaded women of the world. After her death, Korda's nephew Michael wrote a novel, Queenie (which was made into a TV miniseries in 1987), which was reputedly based on Oberon's life, telling of the rise to fame of a young woman of partially Asian descent attempting to conceal her impoverished upbringing and interracial ethnicity. Oberon's second husband was cinematographer Lucian Ballard, and her fourth, actor Robert Wolders.
Biographical data supplied by TCMdb