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Merle Oberon: Bio, Last Photo, Mother, Net Worth, Wiki

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  • August 28, 2021August 28, 2021

Who is Merle Oberon?

Merle Oberon: Bio, Last Photo, Mother, Net Worth, Wiki

Merle Oberon was born in India on February 19, 1911 (age 68). Merle Oberon is a well-known actress. Wuthering Heights (1939), That Uncertain Feeling (1941), The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934), The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933), and The Lodger are among her best films (1944). She died on November 23, 1979, in Malibu, California. Merle Oberon’s parents are Arthur Terrence O’Brien Thompson and Charlotte Selby. Francesca Pagliai and Bruno Pagliai Jr. were her two children. Robert Wolders (m. 1975–1979) is her husband.


Merle Oberon was a ravishing and classy Anglo-Indian actress who was regarded as one of the most dazzling performers in the British film industry during the early days of talkies.
Making her film debut as an extra, she quickly made her mark in British films after being spotted by producer-director Alexander Korda, landing a small but significant role as Anne Boleyn in ‘The Private Life of Henry VIII.’
This was followed by another successful performance as Lady Blakeney, ne Marguerite St. Just, in Harold Young’s British adventure film The Scarlet Pimpernel.
Her quick success in British films prompted her to try her hand in the US film industry, where renowned Hollywood producer Samuel Goldwyn gave her several plum roles, particularly in ‘The Dark Angel,’ for which she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.
During the filming of ‘I, Claudius,’ she was involved in a potentially career-ending car accident that damaged her face.
However, good make-up and careful lighting aided her in hiding the imperfections, and she soon mesmerized the audience with her most notable performance in ‘Wuthering Heights,’ a film which was selected by the Library of Congress in 2007 for preservation in the ‘National Film Registry of the United States, as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
Throughout her professional career, she attempted to conceal her Indian ancestry by inventing a story about being born in Tasmania, Australia; however, a year before her death, she admitted to falsification.

Is Merle still alive or dead?

Merle Oberon died on 23 November 1979(1979-11-23) (aged 68) in Malibu, California, US, according to our current database.


Merle Oberon was born under the sign of Pisces.
Pisces, according to astrologers, is a very friendly sign, so they frequently find themselves in the company of people who are very different from them. Pisces are selfless; they are always willing to help others without expecting anything in return. Pisces is a Water sign, and as such, this zodiac sign is marked by empathy and a strong emotional capacity.

Chinese Zodiac Signs

Merle Oberon was born in the Pig Year. Those born under the Chinese Zodiac sign of the Pig are exceptionally nice, polite, and tasteful. They are perfectionists who appreciate finer things but are not regarded as snobs.
They enjoy assisting others and make good companions until someone close to them crosses them, at which point they should be avoided! They are intelligent, always on the lookout for new information, and exclusive.
Rabbit and goat are both compatible.



On February 19, 1911, Estelle Merle O’Brien Thompson was born in Bombay (now Mumbai), British India.
Merle was given the nickname “Queenie” in honor of Queen Mary, who visited India with King George V in 1911.


Arthur Thompson enlisted in the British Army in 1914 and died of pneumonia on the Western Front during the Battle of the Somme.
Merle and Charlotte were impoverished for a few years in Bombay, living in shabby flats.
When they moved to Calcutta (now known as Kolkata) in 1917, Oberon received a foundation scholarship to attend La Martiniere Calcutta for Girls, one of the best private schools in Calcutta.
She was constantly mocked for her unusual parentage there, eventually leading her to drop out of school and receive lessons at home.


Oberon arrived in England for the first time when he was 17 years old, in 1928.
Initially, she worked as a club hostess under the name Queenie O’Brien and appeared in several minor and uncredited roles in films.
“I couldn’t sing, dance, write or paint.
The only possible opening appeared to be along a line where I could use my face.
This was no better than a hundred other faces, but it did have a photogenic quality, which was a plus “In 1939, she told a Journalist at Film Weekly in a modest manner.
Given the information discovered since this 1939 article (see preceding section), this should be viewed as part of Oberon’s myth.


Merle met and dated Colonel Ben Finney, a former actor, at Firpo’s in 1929.
When he saw Oberon’s dark-skinned mother (actually her grandmother) one night at her flat and realized she had a mixed ancestry, he decided to call it quits.
Finney, on the other hand, promised to introduce her to Rex Ingram of Victorine Studios if she agreed to travel to France, which she gladly did.
Oberon and her mother discovered that their supposed benefactor avoided them after packing their belongings and moving to France, even though he had left a good word for Oberon with Ingram at the Nice studios.
Oberon’s exotic appearance piqued Ingram’s interest, and she was quickly hired as an extra in a party scene in the film The Three Passions.


Her film career took off when director Alexander Korda took an interest in her and cast her as Anne Boleyn in The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933), opposite Charles Laughton, under the name Merle Oberon.
The film was a huge success, and she was cast in leading roles like Lady Blakeney in The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934), with Leslie Howard, who became her lover for a while.


In 1934, Merle Oberon announced her engagement to American studio executive Joseph M. Schenck.
In 1939, she married director, Alexander Korda.
She had a brief affair with Richard Hillary, an RAF fighter pilot who had been badly burned during the Battle of Britain, while she was still married in 1941.
They met during his goodwill tour of the United States.
He later rose to prominence as the author of the best-selling novel The Last Enemy.


Oberon’s career advanced as a result of her relationship with, and later marriage to, Korda.
He sold “shares” of her contract to producer Samuel Goldwyn, who provided her with good cars in Hollywood.
Her “mother” remained in England.
Oberon received her only Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for The Dark Angel (1935), which was produced by Samuel Goldwyn.
She had a serious romance with David Niven around this time, and according to one biographer, even wanted to marry him, but he was unfaithful to her.


Charlotte passed away in 1937.
Oberon commissioned paintings of her mother from an old photograph in 1949.
The paintings hung in all of Oberon’s homes until she died in 1979.


According to Princess Merle, a biography written by Charles Higham and Roy Moseley, Oberon’s complexion was damaged in 1940 as a result of cosmetic poisoning and an allergic reaction to sulfa drugs.
Alexander Korda referred her to a New York City skin specialist, where she underwent several dermabrasion procedures.
However, the results were only partially successful; without makeup, her skin had noticeable pitting and indentation.


When her husband was knighted by George VI for his contribution to the war effort in 1942, Oberon became Lady Korda.
The couple was based at Hills House in Denham, England, at the time.
In 1945, she divorced him to marry cinematographer, Lucien Ballard.
Ballard created a special camera light for her to use to eliminate her facial scars on film.
The light was dubbed the “Obie.”
In 1949, she and Ballard divorced.


Oberon then married Italian-born industrialist Bruno Pagliai in 1957, with whom she had two children and lived in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico.
Oberon divorced Pagliai and married Dutch actor Robert Wolders (later companion to actresses Audrey Hepburn and Leslie Caron) in 1975 after meeting him while filming Interval in 1973.


Oberon is only known to have visited Australia twice.
Her first visit was for film promotion in 1965.
Although a visit to Hobart was planned, she became ill after journalists in Sydney pressed her for details about her childhood, and she left for Mexico shortly afterward.
In 1978, the year before her death, she agreed to attend a Lord Mayoral reception in Hobart.
The Lord Mayor of Hobart discovered shortly before the reception that there was no proof she was born in Tasmania, but went ahead with the reception to save face.
Oberon, however, denied having been born in Tasmania shortly after arriving at the reception, much to the dismay of many.
She then excused herself, claiming she was ill.
Whether she was ill or not, this meant she couldn’t answer any more questions about her background.
On the way to the reception, she had told her driver that as a child she was on a ship with her father, who became ill when it was passing Hobart.
They were taken ashore so he could be treated, and as a result, she spent some of her early years on the island.
This story, too, seems to have been a fabrication.
During her Hobart stay, she remained in her hotel, gave no other interviews, and did not visit the theatre named in her honor.


Oberon retired after Interval and moved with Wolders to Malibu, California, where she died in 1979, aged 68, after suffering a stroke.
Her ashes were interred at Glendale’s Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery.


When Harry Selby discovered Merle’s birth certificate in Indian government records in Bombay, he was surprised to learn that he was Merle’s brother rather than her nephew.
He tried to pay her a visit in Los Angeles, but she refused.
Harry withheld this information from Oberon’s biographer Charles Higham, eventually revealing it to Maree Delofski, the creator of The Trouble with Merle, an Australian Broadcasting Corporation documentary produced in 2002 that investigated the various conflicting versions of Merle’s origin.

Net Worth

Merle is one of the wealthiest and most well-known movie actresses. Merle Oberon has a net worth of $1 -$3 million, according to Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.


Star of 1930s classic Hollywood films who was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in The Dark Angel.

Before Fame

She began acting at the age of 17, playing minor roles in various productions, usually uncredited.


Her most well-known role was in Wuthering Heights, where clever lighting concealed a prominent facial scar she received in a car accident.

Family Life

She grew up in British India, despite the fact that she was born and raised in Australia.
She had four marriages and two children, Francesca Pagliai and Bruno Pagliali Jr.

Associated With

In the 1939 film Wuthering Heights, she co-starred with Laurence Olivier.

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