Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957) - News Poster


'King and I' star Deborah Kerr dies

Deborah Kerr, whose remarkable body of work brought her six Academy Award nominations for best actress but no Oscar wins, has died. She was 86.

Kerr, who suffered from Parkinson's disease, died Tuesday in Suffolk in eastern England, her agent, Anne Hutton, said Thursday.

Kerr, whose embrace with Burt Lancaster on the beach in From Here to Eternity is one of the most indelible romantic movie scenes in history, holds the record for most Academy Award nominations without winning. However, in 1994, she was presented with an honorary Oscar for being "an artist of impeccable grace and beauty, a dedicated actress whose motion picture career has always stood for perfection, discipline and elegance."

She received her Oscar nominations for Edward, My Son (1949), From Here to Eternity (1953), The King and I (1956), Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957), Separate Tables (1958) and The Sundowners (1960).

Kerr received another burst of fame when 1957's An Affair to Remember was celebrated as the ultimate "chick flick" in 1993 film Sleepless in Seattle. Affair was remade as Love Affair in 1994 with Annette Bening and Warren Beatty reprising the parts played by Kerr and Cary Grant.

The epitome of the cultured and proper lady, Kerr blossomed best when the fires of passions erupted from her restrained character's surfaces. Her most memorable roles were in steamy romances. Her best-remembered movie line was also in a romance: In 1956's Tea and Sympathy, she played an older woman who had a disastrous affair with a younger man: "Years from now when you talk about this, and you will, be kind."

Deborah Jane Kerr-Trimmer was born on Sept. 30, 1921, in Helensburgh, Scotland. As a child, she expressed interest in drama and played in many local productions.

Actress Deborah Kerr Dies at 86

Actress Deborah Kerr Dies at 86
Deborah Kerr, the elegant, red-headed actress best known for her roles in The King and I and From Here to Eternity, died Tuesday (10/16) of Parkinson's disease in Suffolk, England. She was 86. Kerr was born in Scotland in 1921. A former ballet dancer, she acted on the stage as well but was quickly put before the cameras. She was 20 when she was cast in a supporting part in Major Barbara, opposite Rex Harrison and multiple roles in Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp as Blimp's (and the directors') ideal woman. Her next role for Powell, a lead part as a Catholic nun in Black Narcissus five years later, made her a star and got the attention of Hollywood. On contract with MGM, she was often cast as a refined paragon of womanly virtue, appearing as the virtuous Lygia in Quo Vadis?, the headstrong Beth in King Solomon's Mines, and Portia, the noble wife of the equally noble Brutus (James Mason) in Julius Caesar. Kerr went decidedly against that typecasting when she landed the part of the adulterous Karen Holmes, who has an affair with one of her husband's subordinates, played by Burt Lancaster, in 1953's From Here to Eternity. Kerr and Lancaster's lusty beachside romp, one so intense that they seem oblivious to the pounding waves about them, became one of the most notorious and famous kisses in movie history, perhaps all the more so due to Kerr's established image of reserve and civility. She went on to return to that image in Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein's musical The King and I. Marni Nixon was dubbed in for Ms. Kerr's singing voice, but it was all Deborah filling the screen as the prim but level-headed Anna Leonowens. The film was a smashing success and earned nine Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture. Though her co-star, Yul Brynner won for Best Actor, Kerr was not to win for Best Actress (that went to Ingrid Bergman for Anastasia). Indeed Kerr was never to win an acting Oscar though she was nominated six times in twelve years. Kerr followed King with more memorable roles, including Terry McKay, the vibrant, witty woman with whom Cary Grant has An Affair to Remember, the matriarch of an Australian family of sheep-drovers in The Sundowners, a nun again, shipwrecked with a hard-living Marine (Robert Mitchum) in Heaven Knows, Mr. Alison, and a governess utterly unable to comprehend her charges in The Innocents. Kerr acted sporadically thereafter and moved to Switzerland for many years before returning to the UK in the face of her illness. Married twice, she is survived by her second husband, screenwriter Peter Viertel, two children from her first marriage, and three grandchildren. In 1994 she received an honorary Oscar for being "An artist of impeccable grace and beauty, a dedicated actress whose motion picture career has always stood for perfection, discipline and elegance." -Keith Simanton, IMDb

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