Image of Deborah Kerr

Deborah Kerr

Born Deborah Jane Kerr-Trimmer in Scotland in 1921, she was the daughter of a soldier who had been gassed in World War I. A shy, insecure child, she found an outlet for expressing her feelings in acting. Her aunt, a radio star, got her some stage work when she was a teenager, and she came to the attention of British film producer Gabriel Pascal, who cast her in his film of George Bernard Shaw's "Major Barbara" (Major Barbara (1941)) and Love on the Dole (1941). She quickly became a star of the British cinema, playing such diverse roles as the three women in The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943) and the nun in Black Narcissus (1947). In 1947 she "crossed the pond" and came to MGM, where she found success in films like The Hucksters (1947), Edward, My Son (1949) and Quo Vadis (1951). After a while, however, she tired of playing prim-and-proper English ladies, so she made the most of the role of the adulteress who romps on the beach with Burt Lancaster in From Here to Eternity (1953). The film was a success, and Kerr received her second Oscar nomination. She also achieved success on the Broadway stage in "Tea and Sympathy," reprising her role in the 1956 film version (Tea and Sympathy (1956)). That same year she played one of her best-remembered screen roles, "Mrs. Anna" in The King and I (1956). More success followed in Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957), An Affair to Remember (1957), Separate Tables (1958), The Sundowners (1960), The Innocents (1961) and The Night of the Iguana (1964). Then in 1968 she suddenly quit movies, appalled by the explicit sex and violence of the day. After some stage and TV work in the 1970s and 1980s and swan song performances in The Assam Garden (1985) and Hold the Dream (1986), she retired from acting altogether. Kerr holds the record for the most Academy Award nominations for Best Actress without a win (six), but that was made up for in 1994, when she was given an Honorary Oscar for her screen achievements. Date of Death 16 October 2007, Botesdale, Suffolk, England  (complications from Parkinson's disease)

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Sep 30, 1921 In Helensburgh, Scotland, UK
Movie/TV Credits:
First Appeared:
In the movie Major Barbara 1941-05-14
Latest Project:
Movie And the Oscar Goes To... 2014-02-01
Known For
Poster of Ann and Debbie
Poster of An Affair to Remember
Poster of The King and I
Poster of Quo Vadis
Movie And the Oscar Goes To... Unknown 2014-02-01
Series Talking Pictures Herself 2013-01-05
Movie Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff Sister Clodagh (archive footage) (uncredited) 2010-05-05
Movie Preminger: Anatomy of a Filmmaker Himself 1991-10-28
Movie Robert Mitchum: The Reluctant Star Herself 1991-03-10
Movie Hold the Dream Emma Harte 1986-10-22
Movie Ann and Debbie Ann 1986-01-01
Series Hold the Dream Emma Harte 1986-10-27
Movie Reunion at Fairborough Sally Wells Grant 1985-05-12
Series A Woman of Substance Emma Harte 1985-01-02
Movie The Assam Garden Helen 1985-06-04
Movie Night of 100 Stars Unknown 1982-03-08
Movie A Song At Twilight Carlotta Gray 1982-07-09
Movie Witness for the Prosecution Nurse Plimsoll 1982-12-04
Series V.I.P. Schaukel Unknown 1971-05-09
Movie The Gypsy Moths Elizabeth Brandon 1969-08-29
Movie The Arrangement Florence Anderson 1969-11-18
Movie Prudence and the Pill Prudence Hardcastle 1968-05-23
Series The Dick Cavett Show Self - Guest 1968-06-06
Movie Casino Royale Agent Mimi / Lady Fiona McTarry 1967-04-13
Movie Eye of the Devil Catherine de Montfaucon 1967-09-06
Movie Marriage on the Rocks Valerie Edwards 1965-09-24
Movie Verifica incerta - Disperse Exclamatory Phase (archive footage) 1965-05-31
Movie The Chalk Garden Miss Madrigal 1964-04-02
Movie On the Trail of the Iguana Herself 1964-04-30
Movie The Night of the Iguana Hannah Jelkes 1964-08-06
Movie The Naked Edge Martha Radcliffe 1961-06-30
Movie The Innocents Miss Giddens 1961-12-15
Movie The Sundowners Ida Carmody 1960-12-08
Movie The Grass Is Greener Hilary Rhyall 1960-12-23
Movie The Journey Diana Ashmore 1959-02-11
Movie Count Your Blessings Grace Allingham 1959-04-23
Movie Beloved Infidel Sheilah Graham 1959-11-17
Movie Bonjour Tristesse Anne Larson 1958-01-15
Movie Separate Tables Sibyl Railton-Bell 1958-12-18
Movie An Affair to Remember Terry McKay 1957-07-11
Movie Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison Sister Angela 1957-03-13
Movie The Proud and Profane Lee Ashley 1956-06-13
Series Tony Awards Host / Presenter 1956-04-01
Movie The King and I Anna Leonowens 1956-06-29
Movie Tea and Sympathy Laura Reynolds 1956-09-27
Series The Steve Allen Show Unknown 1956-06-24
Movie The End of the Affair Sarah Miles 1955-02-24
Series The Oscars Unknown 1953-03-18
Movie From Here to Eternity Karen Holmes 1953-08-28
Movie Young Bess Catherine Parr 1953-05-29
Movie Julius Caesar Portia 1953-06-04
Movie Dream Wife Effie 1953-06-19
Movie The Prisoner of Zenda Princess Flavia 1952-11-04
Movie Thunder in the East Joan Willoughby 1952-12-04
Movie Rome, the Eternal City Unknown 1951-01-21
Movie Quo Vadis Lygia 1951-11-08
Series Hallmark Hall of Fame Unknown 1951-12-24
Series What's My Line? Self - Mystery Guest 1950-02-02
Movie Please Believe Me Alison Kirbe 1950-05-12
Movie King Solomon's Mines Elizabeth Curtis 1950-11-09
Movie Edward, My Son Evelyn Boult 1949-06-02
Movie The Hucksters Kay Dorrance 1947-07-17
Movie Black Narcissus Sister Clodagh 1947-05-26
Movie If Winter Comes Nona Tybar 1947-12-31
Movie I See a Dark Stranger Bridie Quilty 1946-07-04
Movie Perfect Strangers Catherine Wilson 1945-10-15
Movie The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp Edith Hunter / Barbara Wynne / Angela "Johnny" Cannon 1943-07-26
Movie Penn of Pennsylvania Gulielma Maria Springett 1942-01-24
Movie The Day Will Dawn Kari Alstad 1942-06-08
Movie Hatter's Castle Mary Brodie 1942-02-02
Movie Major Barbara Jenny Hill 1941-05-14
Movie Love on the Dole Sally 1941-06-28