Icon Merle Oberon TCM Star of the Month

Merle Oberon Classic Hollywood Icon Old Movie Actresses

At the age of 21 Merle Oberon would solidify her place as a 1930’s Hollywood Glamour Girl. Her role in The Private Life of Henry the VII ( 1933) was a result of a chance meeting with British Film Producer, Alexander Korda while waiting in a tea line at the movie studio. This meeting would position Merle as one of the up and coming young actresses of the time under the happy parenting of the Universal studio machine. Korda’s influence in her life would extend into film and a personal relationship when they married in 1939. When Alexander was knighted Merle became Lady Korda.

Most known for her role in Wuthering Heights opposite Laurence Olivier in 1939, she had the good fortune to play the lead in a film that would be nominated for 8 Oscars, but only win one ( Best Cinematography). This was of course the Gone with the Wind year… and few other films would have a chance. Interestingly, Vivien Leigh, star of GWTW, was supposed to be given the role of Cathy in Wuthering Heights per Laurence Olivier’s request, but Wyler had already given it to Merle. It was rumored that he spent quite a lot of attention on Merle at the expense of pleasing his other young actresses.

Like many actresses of the day she was one of the many actresses considered for the role of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind (1939)

Merle Oberon is an Anglo-Indian Actress better known for her looks than her films. Her mother was from Sri Lanka and her father was from Britain and these looks would take her to high places. William Wyler, the prolific director and cousin of Universal Studios founder Carl Laemmle, had seen Merle and recommended her immediately to be signed to Universal only to learn later that cousin Carl had thought he meant Binnie Barnes instead. This was an understandable Hollywood mix up given that Merle’s nickname, and the one she went by most, was Queenie… which rhymes with Binnie. As a result of both actresses being owned by the same studio, they acted in four films together. We best like Binnie Barnes in our Deanna Durbin favorite Three Smart Girls.

Even though she was married four times Merle Oberon, for the most part lived a quieter life than most Hollywood Stars free of scandal, no doubt helping her keep up her good looks. Take a glance at the video below to update your vintage look.

How to get Merle Oberon Classic Hollywood Glamour Girl Style

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