She was one of the top stars of her era. And one look above explains why.
Merle Oberon was, and remains, a renowned beauty with a graven face, writes British critic David Thomson. She looks as delectable as any woman ever filmed in Britain. Alas, she was often a dull actress.
Harsh but pretty accurate.
She began her career in England, arriving at age 17 as a dancer named ‘Queenie O’Brien.’ Oberon toiled as a movie extra before the renowned producer Alexander Korda discovered her in the early Thirties, and cast her in such prestige productions as The Private Life of Henry VIII and, opposite Douglas Fairbanks, in The Private Life of Don Juan.
Oberon married Korda in 1939, and when he was knighted she became “Lady Korda.” Alas, the marriage lasted only six years.
In Hollywood, Oberon was quickly snapped up, appearing in 15 movies in the Forties alone, achieving stardom both in the U.S. and in England. In all, she appeared in some 60 credits over a 43-year period. She died after what is described as a “massive stroke” in 1979, a beauty to the end.
Now, on to our Merle Oberon Quiz. As usual, questions today and answers tomorrow. Here we go:
1) Question: Oberon may be the only major Hollywood star to born in the island state of Tasmania, just off Australia. a) True; b) False?
2) Question: Oberon was nominated for a best actress Oscar for which one of the following titles? a) The Scarlet Pimpernel; b) Dark Angel; c) Interval; or d) Wuthering Heights.
3) Question: Oberon’s ancestry is shrouded in mystery to this day. What is her family’s ethnic back round? a) Afro American; b) Italian American; c) Indian-British; or d) None of the above.
4) Question: Oberon had something of the reputation of a “cougar” with a preference for much younger lovers. a) True; or b) False.
5) Question: Oberon had a torrid affair (resulting in no marriage) with which one of the following? a) Laurence Olivier; b) David Niven; c) Spencer Tracy; or d) Cary Grant.