A dedicated actress of quiet, determined courage, Deborah Kerr’s most identifying quality was her aura of peace and serenity. She was at her best portraying outwardly vulnerable women imbued with great inner strength.
Her breakthrough role as a US army captain’s unfaithful wife in the 1953 film From Here to Eternity, costarring Burt Lancaster, helped to bring about a new era of sexual permissiveness.
Capitalizing on her newfound cinematic reputation for adultery, Kerr appeared in the daring Broadway play and subsequent movie Tea and Sympathy. She was nominated six times for the Academy Award for Best Actress only to lose each year, which created anxiety over her artistic choices.
Kerr was overjoyed when John Huston offered her the chance to play Hannah Jelkes in The Night of the Iguana. The role allowed Kerr to take advantage of her previously unknown talent as a watercolorist, which gave her many hours of quiet enjoyment.
Deborah Kerr in From Here to Eternity
Heaven Knows Mr Allison
The King and I