Merle Oberon was born 102 years ago on this very day, February 19th. Our lives intersected once & I have always been interested by the idea that her origins are nebulous & rather queer: Who was her mother, the woman who she thought was her sister? Mixed race, Ceylonese, Indian, Irish, Tasmanian born?
LA in 1974, I was 20 years old, fearless & not always engaged in reality. I had decided to crash the That's Entertainment premier & post-show gala 50th Anniversary of MGM Ball.
I borrowed a tux from my university's Theatre Department costume shop, drove my 1959 T-Bird (black on black) to Hollywood & indeed, I managed to crash the event, having secured a room at the venue, The Beverly Wilshire Hotel & moving through the kitchen & server areas explaining that I was a guest that had become a bit lost.
I sat at Merle Oberon's table & enjoyed a bit of conversation with the still beautiful, golden age star. She was gracious to me. She accepted my offer of a dance. I stole her place card & invitation.
While in preparation for our annual garage sale, The Husband came upon a cigar box of my nostalgic ephemera, bits & tiny pieces from my past: Joel Grey's autograph, a postcard of Walter Kennedy as a dancer with the Bella Lewitzky Company, a very significant, special Valentine, a hand canceled letter from Rutledge, Georgia (circa 1986) from my father Edward Rutledge, photos of past affairs, a love note (circa 1981) from the man that would become my husband, & Merle Oberon's invitation to the That's Entertainment premier & MGM Gala Ball.