Biographical entry: Oberon, Merle (c. 1911 - 1979)

c. 1911


Merle Oberon, film star, appeared on the cover of the Weekly Courier, 28 June 1934 as 'Tasmania's Own Screen Star', an accompanying article claiming she was the daughter of Irish and French parents and was taken by an uncle to India. Oberon's legendary beauty and achievements have been subsumed by the urge to establish her birthplace. Despite extensive publicity, all efforts to find documentary evidence of her Tasmanian links have been negative, but claims that she was the daughter of an east coast Chinese mother and European father have continued unabated and have been vigorously upheld against the counterclaim that she was born in India. The 2002 documentary The trouble with Merle showed an Indian birth certificate revealing that Merle's father was her Indian mother's step-father.

Margaret Glover

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