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Deborah Kerr

Deborah Kerr

Joan Crawford was originally meant to play her role in From Here to Eternity (1953), but when she insisted on shooting the film with her own cameraman, the studio balked. They decided to take a chance and cast Ms. Kerr, who then was struggling with her ladylike stereotype, to play the adulterous military wife who has an affair with Burt Lancaster. The casting worked and Ms. Kerr's career thereafter enjoyed a new, sexier versatility.

Maureen O'Hara was originally meant to play her role in The King and I (1956), but Yul Brynner specifically asked for Deborah.

Awarded a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 1997/8 New Years Honours List.

Born to Arthur Charles Kerr-Trimmer, a World War I veteran pilot who became a naval architect and civil engineer, and his wife Kathleen Rose Smale, she was originally trained to be a ballet dancer.

Daughter-in-law of Salka Viertel and Berthold Viertel.



Deborah Kerr, her husband Peter Viertel and her biographer Eric Braun all died within the space of five weeks in the fall of 2007. All were aged 86.

Has two daughters from her marriage to Anthony C. Bartley: Melanie Jane Bartley (born December 27, 1947) and Francesca Ann Bartley (born February 23, 1951). Bartley was a WWII Royal Air Force squadron leader.

Her aunt Phyllis Smale, running the Hicks-Smale Drama School in Bristol, became her first acting coach.

Her brother Ted Trimmer was killed in a road-rage incident at the age of 78 (August 2004).

Her last public appearance was in 1994 when she was awarded an honorary Oscar after six failed nominations over the years. Miss Kerr, along with Thelma Ritter, is one of the few actresses to have received six nominations and not to have won an Oscar. On Oscar evening, Glenn Close presented a special tribute to her work, the Oscar audience watched clips of her films to music. Miss Kerr then appeared from behind the screen, obviously frail, in a blue pastel trouser suit and received a standing ovation from her peers. A life-long shy woman, Miss Kerr said, "I have never been so terrified in my life, but I feel better now because I know that I am among friends. Thank you for giving me a happy life." Following this, there was another standing ovation and Miss Kerr left the stage, which was to become her last official goodbye to Hollywood.

Her signature in cement for Graumans Chinese Theater in Hollywood was actually cast on the set of The King and I (1956) and not at the theater.

Her singing voice was dubbed by Marni Nixon in The King and I (1956).

Her surname is pronounced "car", not "care".

In Italy, almost all of her films were dubbed by either Lidia Simoneschi or Renata Marini. She was occasionally dubbed by Dhia Cristiani, Andreina Pagnani and once by Gemma Griarotti in Quo Vadis (1951).

Is one of four Scottish actors to have received an Academy Award nomination. The others in chronological order are Mary Ure, Tom Conti and Sean Connery. As of 2011 Sean Connery is the only one to have won an Academy Award (for his performance in The Untouchables (1987)).

Lived in Switzerland and Spain after retiring from acting, but returned to England to be with her family when her Parkinson's disease worsened.

Originally when filming began on Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957), her co-star Robert Mitchum worried that Kerr would be like the prim characters she frequently played. However, after she swore at director John Huston during one take, Mitchum, who was in the water, almost drowned laughing. The two stars went on to have an enduring friendship which lasted until Mitchum's death in 1997.

Patron of the National Society of Clean Air and Enviromental Protection in Britain from 1992 until her death in 2007.

Received one of the longest standing ovations of all Honorary Oscar-recipients when she was awarded with an Honorary Oscar for her body of work in 1994.

She is mother-in-law of actor John Shrapnel, who married her daughter, Francesca Shrapnel. She is, thus, also the grandmother of writer Joe Shrapnel and actors Lex Shrapnel & Tom Shrapnel.

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