“British” actress Merle Oberon, one of the most mesmerizing actresses in the ’30s and ’40s, erased her Indian background and her mother, a woman of color (shown above). Oberon was born in Bombay, India, to Charlotte Selby and a British engineer.
She bleached her skin, and told reporters that she was born in St. Helens, Australia. Sadly, when Oberon’s mother passed, the actress demanded that her mother’s skin tone be lightened in photos before she would display the photo in her home.
Oberon’s attempt to alter her own skin tone backfired however, according to biographers Charles Higham with Roy Moseley; the authors claim that Oberon suffered skin damage due to cosmetic poisoning and an allergic reaction to sulfa drugs.