Merle Oberon was one of the biggest movie stars of the 1930s and 1940s. Studio publicists said she was born into a wealthy family in Hobart, Tasmania - Australia's island state. Yet rumour was that the exotic almond-eyed actress concealed her true past. It was said she was actually "oriental", perhaps Anglo-Indian, and born in Calcutta. In Tasmania, many remain convinced she was their island's most famous daughter, born not to wealthy parents but to a Chinese hotel worker and her married employer.
The Trouble with Merle looks at celebrity, memory, identity, race and class...and at why Merle Oberon's origins mattered to people on a tiny island, in a country at the bottom of the world.
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