Name: Deborah Jane Kerr-Trimmer

Birth Date: September 30, 1921

Birth Place: Helensburgh, Scotland, UK

Profession: Actress

Notable Works: From Here to Eternity, The King and I


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A cultured actress renowned for her elegance and dignity, Deborah Kerr was one of the leading ladies of Hollywood's Golden Age. Born Deborah Kerr-Trimmer in Helensburgh, Scotland, on September 30, 1921, she was first trained as a dancer at her aunt's drama school in Bristol, England. After winning a scholarship to the Sadlers Wells Ballet School, Kerr made her London stage debut at age 17 in Prometheus. Meanwhile, she developed an interest in acting and began getting bit parts and walk-ons in Shakespeare productions. While continuing to appear in various London stage plays, Kerr debuted onscreen in 1940 and went on to roles in a number of British films over the next seven years, often playing cool, reserved, well-bred young ladies. Her portrayal of a nun in Black Narcissus (1947) earned a New York Film Critics Best Actress award and led to an invitation from Hollywood to co-star opposite Clark Gable in The Hucksters. She remained in Hollywood, playing long-suffering, prim, proper, ladylike types until 1953, when she broke her typecast mold by portraying a passionate adulteress in From Here to Eternity, a part for which she had fought. Kerr's range of roles broadened further after that, and she began to appear in British films again. In 1953, Kerr debuted on Broadway to great acclaim in Tea and Sympathy, later reprising her role in the play's 1956 screen version. That same year, she starred as an English governess sent to tutor the children of the King of Siam in one of the most popular films of her career, The King and I. Kerr retired from the screen in 1969, having received six Best Actress Oscar nominations without an award, although she did receive an honorary Oscar in 1994. She had been honored with a special BAFTA award three years earlier in Britain, and, in 1998, she was further honored in her native land with a Companion of the Order of the British Empire. Kerr, who graced the screen one more time in the The Assam Garden in 1985, is married to novelist/screenwriter Peter Viertel.

~ All Movie Guide


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Hold the Dream (1986) (TV) .... Emma Harte
The Assam Garden (1985) .... Helen
Reunion at Fairborough (1985) (TV) .... Sally Wells
"A Woman of Substance" (1983) (mini) TV Series .... Emma Harte
Witness for the Prosecution (1982) (TV) .... Nurse Plimsoll
A Song at Twilight (1973) (TV)
The Arrangement (1969) .... Florence Anderson
The Gypsy Moths (1969) .... Elizabeth Brandon
Prudence and the Pill (1968) .... Prudence Hardcastle
Eye of the Devil (1967) .... Catherine de Montfaucon
Casino Royale (1967) .... Agent Mimi/Lady Fiona McTarry
Marriage on the Rocks (1965) .... Valerie Edwards
The Night of the Iguana (1964) .... Hannah Jelkes
The Chalk Garden (1964) .... Miss Madrigal
The Innocents (1961) .... Miss Giddens
The Naked Edge (1961) .... Martha Radcliffe
The Grass Is Greener (1960) .... Lady Hilary Rhyall
The Sundowners (1960) .... Ida Carmody
Beloved Infidel (1959) .... Sheilah Graham
Count Your Blessings (1959) .... Grace Allingham
The Journey (1959) .... Diana Ashmore
Separate Tables (1958) .... Sibyl Railton-Bell
Bonjour tristesse (1958) .... Anne Larson
Kiss Them for Me (1957) (voice) (uncredited) .... Gwinneth Livingston
An Affair to Remember (1957) .... Terry McKay
Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957) .... Sister Angela
Tea and Sympathy (1956) .... Laura Reynolds
The King and I (1956) .... Anna Leonowens
The Proud and Profane (1956) .... Lee Ashley
The End of the Affair (1955) .... Sarah Miles
From Here to Eternity (1953) .... Karen Holmes
Dream Wife (1953) .... Priscilla 'Effie' Effington
Julius Caesar (1953) .... Portia
Young Bess (1953) .... Catherine Parr
Thunder in the East (1952) .... Joan Willoughby
The Prisoner of Zenda (1952) .... Princess Flavia
Quo Vadis (1951) .... Lygia
King Solomon's Mines (1950) .... Elizabeth Curtis
Please Believe Me (1950) .... Alison Kirbe
Edward, My Son (1949) .... Evelyn Boult
If Winter Comes (1947) .... Nona Tyber
The Hucksters (1947) .... Kay (Francis X.) Dorrance
Black Narcissus (1947) .... Sister Clodagh
I See a Dark Stranger (1946) .... Bridie Quilty
Perfect Strangers (1945) .... Catherine Wilson
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943) .... Edith Hunter/Barbara Wynne/Angela 'Johnny' Cannon
The Day Will Dawn (1942) .... Kari Alstead
Hatter's Castle (1942) .... Mary Brodie
Penn of Pennsylvania (1942) .... Guglielma Springelt
Love on the Dole (1941) .... Sally Hardcastle
Major Barbara (1941) .... Jenny Hill
Contraband (1940) (uncredited) .... Bit Part


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-Married to Peter Viertel (23 July 1960 - present)

-Married to Anthony Bartley (28 November 1945 - 1959) (divorced) 2 children

-She was awarded an honorary Oscar in 1994

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

-Has two daughters from her marriage to Anthony Bartley: Melanie Jane, born on December 27, 1947 and Francesca Ann.

-Her singing voice was dubbed by Marni Nixon in The King and I

-Suffers from Parkinson disease