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Queenie (miniseries)

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Queenie was an ABC miniseries based on the eponymous novel by Michael Korda.


  • Background 1
  • Critical reception 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


In April 1985 Korda published Queenie, a roman à clef about his aunt, actress Merle Oberon, who had married his uncle Alexander Korda. Queenie Kelley (Oberon had been known earlier in life as "Queenie O'Brien" and "Queenie Thompson") is an extremely beautiful girl of Indian and Irish descent, fair enough to pass for white. Growing up in Calcutta, however, Queenie is made all too aware of her "chee-chee" (mixed) background by her enemies, including wealthy, jaded socialite Penelope Daventry.

One of Daventry's lovers, however, is Queenie's uncle, Morgan Jones. Jones and Queenie steal Daventry's expensive diamond bracelet, pawning it to make their way to England. Lost in London, Queenie finds a career as a stripper, Rani. Later, she makes her way to Hollywood, where she is renamed Dawn Avalon. Avalon becomes one of the biggest stars in Hollywood.

In May 1987, Queenie aired in two parts on ABC. Winston Beard and April Smith adapted the novel for television and Larry Peerce directed. The cast, headed by Gary Cady ("Lucien Chambrun"), Claire Bloom (Queenie's mother, "Vicky Kelley") and Topol ("Dimitri Goldner").

Critical reception

In 1987, the New York Times criticized the miniseries for not only being "absurd" but also being politically dated: "Even the details show an insensitivity no longer acceptable in today's global village. Why, for instance, when so many Indian actors have excelled in such productions as A Passage to India and The Jewel in the Crown, do we still have to find Indian characters played by British actors using dark makeup and a singsong accent?" [1]


  1. ^ review of the TV miniseries "Queenie"New York Times

External links

  • page
  • )QueenieWriter April Smith's website (Smith recalls her work on
  • "Queenie: Smudging the distinctions between Black and White", by Mark Haslam
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