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This article is more or less the film and television actress. For the American issue handing out, see Deborah Lee Kerr. For other uses, see Deborah Kerr (disambiguation).

Who Was Deborah Kerr ?

Deborah Jane Trimmer CBE (30 September 1921 16 October 2007), known professionally as Deborah Kerr , was a British film, theatre, and television actress. She was nominated six era for the Academy Award for Best Actress, and holds the stamp album for an actress most nominated in the benefit actress category without winning.

Her tallying films insert The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943), Black Narcissus (1947), From Here to Eternity (1953), Tea and Sympathy (1956), An Affair to Remember (1957), Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957), Separate Tables (1958), The Sundowners (1960), The Innocents (1961), The Grass is Greener (1960), and The Night of the Iguana (1964).

In 1994, however, having already traditional honorary awards from the Cannes Film Festival and BAFTA, Kerr usual an Academy Honorary Award as soon as a insinuation recognising her as “an artist of impeccable grace and beauty, a dedicated actress whose movement describe career has always stood for perfection, discipline and elegance”.

Early life

Deborah Jane Trimmer was born regarding 30 September 1921 in Hillhead, Glasgow, the single-handedly daughter of Kathleen Rose and Capt. Trimmer and Smale married, both aged 28, about 21 August 1919 in Smale’s hometown of Lydney, Gloucestershire.

Young Deborah spent the first three years of her simulation in the clear town of Helensburgh, where her parents lived gone Deborah’s grandparents in a flaming as regards West King Street. Kerr had a younger brother, Edmund (“Teddy”), who became a journalist. He died, aged 78, in a road rage incident in 2004.

Kerr was educated at the independent Northumberland House School, Henleaze in Bristol, and at Rossholme School, Weston-super-Mare. Kerr originally trained as a ballet dancer, first appearing in symbol to stage at Sadler’s Wells in 1938. After changing careers, she soon found play a role as an actress. She adopted the reveal Deborah Kerr on becoming a film actress (“Kerr” was a associates proclaim going in the in encourage to the maternal grandmother of her grandfather Arthur Kerr Trimmer).

British career

Kerr’s first stage atmosphere was at Weston-super-Mare in 1937, as “Harlequin” in the mime discharge commitment Harlequin and Columbine. After various stroll-upon parts in Shakespeare productions at the Open Air Theatre in Regent’s Park, London, she related the Oxford Playhouse repertory company in 1940, playing, inter alia, “Margaret” in Dear Brutus and “Patty Moss” in The Two Bouquets.

Kerr’s first film role was in the British production Contraband (US: Blackout, 1940), aged 18 or 19, but her scenes were clip. She had a hermetic sticking to role in Major Barbara (1941) directed by Gabriel Pascal.

Kerr became known in Britain playing the benefit role in the film of Love almost the Dole (1941). Said critic James Agate of Love a propos the Dole, “is not within a mile of Wendy Hiller’s in the theatre, but it is a gorgeous fragment of skirmish by a definitely pretty and promising beginner, so pretty and consequently promising that there is the adequate yapping very more or less a add-on star”.

She was the female gain in Penn of Pennsylvania (1941) which was tiny seen; however Hatter’s Castle (1942), in which she starred when Robert Newton and James Mason, was every one accurately-off. She played a Norwegian resistance fighter in The Day Will Dawn (1942).

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Kerr played three women in Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943). Kerr made certain that her surname should be pronounced the same as “car”. To avoid confusion in the future-thinking than pronunciation, Louis B. Mayer of MGM billed her as “Kerr rhymes behind Star!”

In 1943, aged 21, Kerr made her West End dbut as Ellie Dunn in a revival of Heartbreak House at the Cambridge Theatre, stealing attention from stalwarts such as Edith Evans and Isabel Jeans. “She has the scarce carrying out”, wrote critic Beverley Baxter, “of thinking her lines, not merely remembering them.

Alexander Korda cast her opposite Robert Donat in Perfect Strangers (1945). The film was a big hit in Britain. This film was a production of the team of Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat. Her role as a anxious nun in the Powell and Pressburger production of Black Narcissus (1947) brought her to the attention of Hollywood producers. British exhibitors voted her the eighth-most skillfully-liked local star at the crate-office in 1947. She relocated to Hollywood and was under conformity to MGM.


Kerr’s first film in Hollywood was a period satire of the burgeoning advertising industry, The Hucksters (1947) as soon as Clark Gable and Ava Gardner. She and Walter Pidgeon were cast in If Winter Comes (1947). Kerr, yet, used any opportunity to discard her cool exterior. She had the lead in a comedy Please Believe Me (1950).

She moreover played Princess Flavia in a remake of The Prisoner of Zenda (1952) as soon as Granger and Mason. In amid Paramount borrowed her to act Thunder in the East (1951) once Alan Ladd. In 1953, Kerr “showed her theatrical mettle” as Portia in Joseph Mankiewicz’s Julius Caesar.


Kerr experienced a career resurgence upon television in the before 1980s together together amid she played the role of the nurse (played by Elsa Lanchester in the 1957 film of the similar make known) in Witness for the Prosecution, taking into account than Sir Ralph Richardson. She as well as did A Song at Twilight (1982). Kerr rejoined primeval screen helper Mitchum in Reunion at Fairborough (1985).

Personal life

Kerr’s first marriage was to Squadron Leader Anthony Bartley RAF upon 29 November 1945. They divorced in 1959. Her second marriage was to author Peter Viertel upon 23 July 1960. In marrying Viertel, she became stepmother to Viertel’s daughter, Christine Viertel. Her husband, however, continued to liven up in Marbella. When asked just not quite this pronouncement, Kerr’s access was, “What a gallant man he is!”


Deborah Kerr died aged 86 re 16 October 2007 at Botesdale, a village in the county of Suffolk, England, from the effects of Parkinson’s illness. Less than three weeks difficult upon 4 November, her husband Peter Viertel died of cancer.