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… read more
When you think about it, Hollywood wasn't the best place for her. In her early English films, she showed a depth and humanity that her American directors rarely tapped, with the exception of Fred Zinnemann. She was hired by MGM as a replacement for Greer Garson and she was so much more the greater actress. It took another English director, Jack Clayton, to allow her to perform at her most instinctual and creative.