One of the actors of Hollywood’s golden era, John Kerr, has died aged 81. Kerr was a phenomenal stage and film actor who could list seminal movies like South Pacific and The Pit And The Pendulum on his CV, as well as a Tony award-winning performance in Broadway play Tea And Sympathy.
According to the Washington Post, Kerr died on Saturday (February 9, 2013) at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, with the news made public by his son Michael. Tea And Sympathy was undoubtedly his most famous role, with Kerr playing an at the time controversial role in a sensitive prep school student who is suspected of being a homosexual by fellow students and teachers. The role was successful enough that not only did he win his Tony, but he also reprised the role for another turn in 1956.
Kerr’s next main role was in TV, with the star appearing as a district attorney in the show Peyton Place in the mid 1960’s. The show had more of an impact on Kerr than one might’ve expected, with the actor leaving showbusiness and going on to become a lawyer specializing in personal injury law. Kerr was married twice, to Priscilla Smith in 1952, then divorcing her in 1972, going on to marry Barbara Chu in 1979.
So why is this movie a classic? Because it was produced soon after WWII, when even Hollywood war romances had a serious edge. Because it was filmed on location (well, Hawaii, I think) and in full Technicolor glamour. And because the occasion brought out the best in Rodgers and Hammerstein, when the songwriting team wrote poignant and thoughtful lyrics put to classic melodies.
Continue reading: South Pacific (1958) Review
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