Oct 18, 2007

Rhymes with Star

Delicate Scottish star Deborah Kerr, best beloved for her roles in Black Narcissus, From Here To Eternity, and The King and I, and forever remembered as the endlessly elegant Terry McKay in Leo McKern's An Affair to Remember, died Tuesday, October 16, at the age of 86.

Kerr, retired from film since the late 1960's, spent the last years of her life in Switzerland, where Parkinson's disease interfered with her ability to publicly share her Hollywood memories through interviews or written accounts, and to accomodate fan requests. She is survived by her husband of almost fifty years, Peter Viertel, and two daughters from her first marriage, Melanie and Francesca.

I am forever indebted to Deborah for introducing me to the charms of peach lipstick, pink champagne, and sexy, witty banter as the reservedly passionate Terry in Affair. She was an inexhaustible example of timeless grace and propriety even when such attributes were out of vogue in Hollywood, but her professionalism and skill won out as she fought for better, more demanding, less decorative roles; her film legacy is a testament to such victories. And oh, was she right - pink champagne, chic camelhair coats and Cary Grant do a happy woman make.

When MGM brought British Deborah stateside in the 1940's and proclaimed 'Deborah Kerr rhymed with "star"', they were right. They just never knew she would be one herself.

Deborah Kerr (1921-2007)

For a more comprehensive tribute on the lady herself, you can check out my Actor Profile here.

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