Farewell to screen legend Deborah Kerr

DEBORAH Kerr, one of the last century's most iconic film stars, has died aged 86. The actress, who set Hollywood on fire as a result of a steamy clinch

DEBORAH Kerr, one of the last century's most iconic film stars, has died aged 86.The actress, who set Hollywood on fire as a result of a steamy clinch with fellow screen great Burt Lancaster, began her career in Weston 70 years ago.Deborah Kerr Trimmer was born in Helensburgh, Scotland, in 1921, the daughter of Captain Arthur Kerr Trimmer, who died in World War One. The Kerr family moved to Weston in 1938 and she attended Northumberland House, a boarding school in Westbury Park, Bristol, before moving to Rossholme School in East Brent.Judith Webb, a former Rossholme headteacher, said: "She was a very gracious lady and she gave the school her best wishes when it performed The King and I at The Playhouse."Kerr's big break came in 1939 after she was spotted by a talent scout at an open air theatre in Regents Park.Soon after, British film producer Gabriel Pascal cast her in his film of George Bernard Shaw's Major Barbara in 1941.She rapidly became a star of British cinema with roles in The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp in 1943 and the nun in Black Narcissus four years later, which brought her to the attention of Hollywood moguls. After a while she tired of playing prim and proper English rose characters and relished the role of playing an adulteress in From Here to Eternity, in 1953.Her on screen kiss with Burt Lancaster was last year voted the most memorable in an industry poll. Her success continued with starring roles with Yul Brynner in The King and I and An Affair to Remember, in which she appeared alongside Bristolian Cary Grant.During the course of her career Kerr was nominated for an Oscar no fewer than six times, but was made to wait until 1994 when she received an honorary Academy Award. Kerr's first husband was Battle of Britain hero Anthony Bartley, who she married in 1945. They had two daughters, Melanie and Francesca, but the couple split in 1959.She met her second husband, Peter Viertel, a writer, on a film set in Vienna one year later. The couple lived in Switzerland together but Kerr returned to the UK later to be closer to her family.She leaves her second husband, two daughters and three grandchildren.


You may also want to watch:


Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter