Day 146 of Colourisation Project – September 30
Challenge: to publish daily a colourised photo that has some significance around the day of publication.
Yesterday’s post was about Greer Garson, the only actress to win five consecutive Oscar nominations. Today it is Deborah Kerr’s turn. Born this day, September 30 in 1921, Kerr was one of Hollywood’s actresses, most nominated for a best-actress Academy Award without ever winning. Nominated six times throughout her long and distinguished career, Kerr was given an honorary, lifetime achievement Oscar in 1994, one of only ten actresses to receive an Honorary Academy Award.
Her special Oscar was inscribed “to an artist of impeccable grace and beauty… whose motion picture career has always stood for perfection, discipline and elegance.”
Her six best-actress nominations were for the following movies; Edward, My Son (1949), The King and I (1956), From Here to Eternity (1953), Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957), Separate Tables (1958), and The Sundowners (1960)
Before being poached by Hollywood, Kerr was already a star and actress of proven substance in British pictures at the age of 21. When she arrived in Hollywood in 1946, MGM let it be known, “Deborah Kerr – it rhymes with star!” Scottish born Kerr was known for the cool reserve and stoic nobility she projected in her portrayals of complex, prim and proper characters of English gentility.
Kerr gave us many memorable performances including the repressed nun of Black Narcissus (1947), the obliging schoolteacher’s wife in Tea and Sympathy (1956), the governess who travels to Siam in the musical The King and I (1956), the almost thwarted lover in An Affair to Remember (1957), the downtrodden sheep-drover’s wife in The Sundowners (1960).
My all time favourite however was her portrayal of a sexually frustrated wife in From Here to Eternity (1953). One of the most enduring images of Kerr’s career, the iconic beach scene with Burt Lancaster in which they make love as waves symbolically crash over them, would have to be indelibly ingrained in the minds of many movie-goers of the 1950’s and even today. The film was a major departure from her usual prim ladylike roles. Kerr’s steamy performance as the unfaithful wife of an army captain caused quite a sensation when the film was released and earned her an Academy Award nomination. (The Oscar that year went to Audrey Hepburn for her stunning performance in Roman Holiday.)
You can relive their famous ‘erotic’ embrace on the beach in the clip below. Enjoy!
In 2007 Deborah Kerr succumbed to Parkinson’s disease at the age 86.
She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1709 Vine Street.
“It had to have rocks in the distance, so the water could strike the boulders and shoot upward — all very symbolic. The scene turned out to be deeply affecting on film, but, God, it was no fun to shoot. We had to time it for the waves, so that at just the right moment a big one would come up and wash over us. Most of the waves came up only to our feet, but we needed one that would come up all the way. We were like surfers, waiting for the perfect waves. Between each take, we had to do a total cleanup. When it was all over, we had four tons of grit in our mouths–and other places.” – Deborah Kerr [about her famous romantic beach scene with Burt Lancaster in From Here to Eternity (1953)]