Merle was born in Okinawa, Japan to a mother of Korean and Japanese descent and an African-American father serving in the U.S. Air Force. After graduating high school in Papillion, Nebraska, she attended the Theatre Conservatory at Roosevelt University in Chicago on a full-ride scholarship and graduated with a BFA in Theatre.
She starred on Broadway as The Lady of the Lake in the Mike Nichols directed Spamalot, as Aida in Aida, Kala in Tarzan, Joanne in Rent and in Jesus Christ Superstar. She has toured the U.S. and Europe 5 times. And regionally, she has appeared at Williamstown Theatre Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, Geffen Playhouse, and Pasadena Playhouse.
- 2005 - All my children (as Lois)
- 2011 - Sons of Anarchy (as Rita Roosevelt)
- 2014 - Star Crossed (Vega)
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