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Interview with Deborah Kerr

Deborah Kerr explains the masoschism associated with theatrical performance.

News 1985 3 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for South West Film and Television Archive

Overview

From nun to sex symbol Scottish born Deborah Kerr CBE starred in over 45 films in as many years. Here the actor is interviewed after suffering from stage fright during a theatre performance of Emlyn William’s The Corn Is Green. She portrays Miss Moffat, a strong-willed teacher who set up a school in a Welsh mining village and finds talent in one of her pupils. She is recognised as one of the UK’s foremost Hollywood film stars and respected theatre actors.

Kerr received 6 Academy nominations for Best Actress and in 1994 was awarded a lifetime achievement award. In 1961 Elizabeth Taylor beat her to the Oscar for Butterfield 8 and Kerr’s role as a sheepdrover’s wife in Fred Zinnemann’s The Sundowners was overlooked. Kerr attended Ninette de Valois’s Sadler’s Wells Ballet School and at 20 she was cast in a Major Barbara (1941). She portrayed the English governess next to Yul Brynner in The King and I (1956) and the adulterous wife in From Here To Eternity (1953) with its steamy beach scene with Burt Lancaster and in Powell and Pressburger’s Black Narcissus (1947) and Heaven Knows, Mr Allison (1957) she played a nun. She described theatre as masochistic madness.