Thursday, April 17, 2014

O for Merle Oberon



BORN: February 19, 1911

DIED: November 23, 1979

AGED: 68 Yrs from major stroke, had heart issues

REAL NAME: Estelle Merle O'Brien

NICKNAME: Queenie

MARRIAGES: 4 times-Alexander Korda, Robert Wolders (later he was with Audrey Hepburn)

AFFAIRS: David Niven, Turhan Bey, etc...

Her dad was British and her mom was from Ceylon which Merle tried to hide from the world. She did not want to be known as a half-caste. She would introduce her mom as her maid to keep her secrets. Known for her beauty and exotic looks there are rumours she worked as a high class call girl before she found fame. She also was a very bad car accident and almost died in the 1930's. When married to Mr. Korda she worked, with him, in intelligence during WW2. She was born with a congenital heart defect which plagued later in life.

FILMS: Private Life of Henry the VIII, The Dark Angel,These Three, Wuthering Heights, A Song To Remember


34 comments:

  1. From high-class call girl to movie star? You never hear of that these days!

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    1. Oh no-The media is too open now. The film stars were protected back then

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  2. Fascinating life history!

    Damyanti, Co-host A to Z Challenge April 2014, My Latest post

    Twitter: @AprilA2Z
    #atozchallenge

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    1. She is quite fascinating and a few years ago there was a TV film that was supposedly based on her life (loosely). I think it was called Queenie but not sure

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  3. She introduced her mom as her maid? Oh my god, that's so sad.

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    1. It is so sad and I would have wanted to kick her butt if I was a mom but mom's are special and will do anything for their children(usually)

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  4. Noticing a certain amount of crossover here! They all seemed to have been having affairs with each other.....
    Anabel at Anabel's Travel Blog

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    1. Absolutely! When I was writing everything down I noticed that-hahahaha-There is no 6 degrees of separation here!

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  5. I know Ceylon is (or was) a real place, but whenever I read it I can't help but think "Cylon" from Battlestar Galactica. If she really was half-alien, it would certainly explain her embarrassment about her heritage.

    A-to-Z Blog Challenge
    cdgallantking.ca

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    1. At least her eyes don't glow and move back and forth. Sri Lanka is the place it is called now-They love changing names in other parts of the world

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  6. The things I'm learning! I didn't know her mom was from Ceylon. Now it makes sense why I thought she had a different, pleasant look about her. My favorite movie of hers was The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.
    The View from the Top of the Ladder

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    1. Actually you are thinking of Gene Tierney:) She is another fun actress to write about. This lady's most famous role is as Cathy from Wuthering Heights. She also played George Sand in A Song To Remember

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    2. lol I went and looked at her list of movies. I thought she was in a movie with Rock Hudson; turned out that was Jane Wyman. haha. Methinks it's time to see a Merle Oberon movie. A Song to Remember sounds interesting.

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  7. I wonder how her mom felt about being introduced as the maid?

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    1. I am certain it was not a highlight of hers but moms love their children and I think Merle had to hide her history due to the times

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  8. She was great in Dark Angel. The Divorce of Lady X is a forgotten gem of hers. More people should see that one.

    See ya 'round the web. All Things Kevyn.

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    1. Dark Angel is a gem and Thank you for mentioning The Divorce of Lady X. I have not seen that film since I was a kid and I need to see it again. Merle needed mentioning

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  9. Now I know a little about Merle. I saw Wuthering Heights long ago but did not remember her. I think it is sad that she was ashamed of her mother and introduced her as the maid. It is too bad that she felt she needed to do that for public opinion.

    Thank you for the kind things you said about our Claire singing opera. YOU MADE MY DAY!

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    1. I have a feeling it was not just embarrassment but self-preservation since it was back in the day when people did not care for mixed lineage-sad. I am glad I made your day-She is so gifted!!!! It made my day to hear her sing

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  10. This makes me want to see Wuthering Heights again. Thanks for sharing! http://untetheredrealms.blogspot.com

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    1. I always thought she made a great Cathy

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  11. Oddly enough, I don't remember her very well. I've seen her of course, but she doesn't stand out in my mind for some reason. Makes me want to rewatch some of her movies.

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    1. Yes she is forgotten today unless one watches Wuthering Heights-shame really as she was pretty big in her day

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  12. I don't recall her name at all for some reason, but Wuthering Heights I do. Pretty dark movie...I wonder if the others were too. Very beautiful lady.
    Shells–Tales–Sails

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    1. Many were sad and had some dark themes and yes she was beautiful

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  13. I think I remember seeing her too, in a movie, maybe? What's so bad about being from Ceylon? I'm defiantly learning a lot about good actors and movies, thanks! : )

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    1. I bet it is Wuthering Heights. In those days one could not be of mixed race or it could possibly ruin your career-sad isn't it

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  14. How times have changed that she was embarassed about her mom; nowadays I don't think I would see this happening.

    betty

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  15. I should watch more old movies. Then I would want to find out more about their stars. These minibars you are posting are fascinating

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  16. My movie list keeps getting longer. These posts make me want to learn more about classic movies.

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    1. Oh I hope you watch some old films as they are excellent. Glad you like my posts

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  17. I think she lied about where she as born too. Claiming it to be in Tasmania..And her mother Constance was only 12 (yes - TWELVE) when she gave birth to Oberon! She had many skeletons in her closet!
    xxx Asha

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  18. She did and you are right! She really tried to cover so much up-what a shame

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