Queenie (miniseries)

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


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 Mia Sara as the titular character, included Joss Ackland ("Sir Burton Rumsey"), Sarah Miles ("Lady Sybil"), Kirk Douglas ("David Konig"), Leigh Lawson ("Morgan Jones"), Gary Cady ("Lucien Chambrun"), Claire Bloom (Queenie's mother, "Vicky Kelley") and Topol ("Dimitri Goldner").

Critical reception[edit]

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]


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