Born in India to an Indian mother and an Indo-Irish father, Estelle Merle O'Brien Thompson spent an impoverished childhood in the subcontinent, before coming to England in 1928 where, among other things, she worked as a dance hostess before starting to pick up bit parts in movies in the early '30s, beginning with Alf's Button (1930). It was Hungarian-born film mogul Alexander Korda who first spotted Oberon's screen potential, and began giving her parts in his pictures, building her up toward stardom with role such as Anne Boleyn in The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933). Although she was an actress of very limited range, Oberon acquitted herself well in movies such as The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934), as Sir Percy Blakeney's wife, and her exotic good looks made her extremely appealing. She was cast opposite Laurence Olivier in the 1938 comedy The Divorce of Lady X, which was shot in Technicolor and showed Oberon off to even better advantage. Seeking to build her up as an international star, Korda sold half of Oberon's contract to Samuel Goldwyn in America, who cast her as Cathy in Wuthering Heights (1939). She moved to America with the outbreak of war, and also married Korda (1939-1945), but despite some success in That Uncertain Feeling, The Lodger, and A Song to Remember, her star quickly began to fade, and the Korda vehicle Lydia (1941), a slow-moving melodrama that had her aging 50 years, didn't help her career at all. Even a good acting performance in the Hitchcock-like chiller Dark Waters (1944) failed to register with the public. Oberon re-emerged only occasionally after the early '50s, until 1973 when she starred in, produced, and co-edited Interval, a strange romantic drama that costarred her future husband Robert Wolders, that failed to find good reviews or an audience.