BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Thursday, 18 October 2007, 16:02 GMT 17:02 UK
British actress Kerr dies at 86
Deborah Kerr, 1984
Deborah Kerr was born Deborah Jane Trimmer in 1921
British actress Deborah Kerr, known to millions for her roles in The King And I, Black Narcissus and From Here To Eternity, has died at the age of 86.

Born in Scotland in 1921, the actress made her name in British films before becoming successful in Hollywood.

Nominated for the best actress Oscar six times, she was given an honorary award by the Academy in 1994.

Kerr, who had suffered from Parkinson's disease for a number of years, died in Suffolk on Tuesday, her agent said.

The actress, who was made a CBE in 1997, had lived in Switzerland but returned to England to be near her family when her illness worsened.

An artist of impeccable grace and beauty
Academy Award citation
She leaves a husband, the novelist and screenwriter Peter Viertel, two daughters and three grandchildren.

Kerr began her career in regional British theatres and entertained the troops during World War II.

Her first major screen role came in 1941's Major Barbara, while her last came in 1985's The Assam Garden.

Between them she appeared alongside such Hollywood icons as Burt Lancaster, Cary Grant and Robert Mitchum.

Deborah Kerr, 1994
Despite six nominations her only Oscar was an honorary one
Notable British films include The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, in which she played three roles, and Black Narcissus, which saw as a nun in the Himalayas.

She remains best known, however, for her torrid sex scene with Lancaster in From Here to Eternity and for dancing with Yul Brynner in The King and I.

From the late 1960s onwards she concentrated on theatre and television roles.

Kerr always played down her success, attributing it to her having had "an awful lot of luck".

Her honorary Oscar came in recognition of "an artist of impeccable grace and beauty, a dedicated actress whose motion picture career has always stood for perfection, discipline and elegance".

"I must confess, I've had a marvellous time," she said as she collected the statuette.

Moments from Deborah Kerr's most celebrated films

Obituary: Deborah Kerr
18 Oct 07 |  Entertainment
Jail for killer of star's brother
11 Aug 05 |  West Midlands
Man admits killing Kerr's brother
06 Jun 05 |  West Midlands

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific