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Summary Article: Kerr, Deborah
from Chambers Biographical Dictionary

originally

Deborah Jane Kerr-Trimmer

married name

Viertel

1921-2007

Scottish actress

Born in Helensburgh, Strathclyde, she trained as a dancer, before deciding to take up acting. Work on stage was followed by roles in Major Barbara (1941), and other British films, notably The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943) and Black Narcissus (1947). Moving to Hollywood, she was almost invariably cast in ladylike roles, and played numerous governesses and nuns, sensationally straying from her established image to play an adulterous wife in From Here to Eternity (1953) for which she received an Academy Award nomination. She received further nominations for Edward My Son (1949), The King and I (1956), Heaven Knows Mr Allison (1957), Separate Tables (1958) and The Sundowners (1960). She retired from the screen in 1969 but continued to appear on the stage in such plays as The Day After the Fair (1972), Seascape (1975), Candida (1977) and The Corn Is Green (1985). She appeared on television in Witness for the Prosecution (1982) and Reunion At Fairborough (1985) and made a one-off return to the cinema in The Assam Garden (1985). In 1994 she received an Academy Honorary Award and in 1998 was appointed a CBE.

© Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd 2011

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