SOUTH PACIFIC Star John Kerr Passes Away at 81

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SOUTH PACIFIC Star John Kerr Passes Away at 81

According to published reports, Broadway veteran and Tony-winner John Kerr passed away after a short illness on February 2 at 81.

He made his Broadway debut in 1953 in Mary Coyle Chase's Bernardine, a high-school comedy for which he won a Theatre World Award. In 1953-54, he received considerable critical acclaim as a troubled prep school student in Robert Anderson's play Tea and Sympathy. In 1954, he won a Tony Award for his performance, and he starred in the film version in 1956.

Kerr's first television acting role was in 1954 on NBC's Justice as a basketball player who believes that gamblers have ruined his success on the court. His mother appeared with him on the series, which focuses on the cases of attorneys with the Legal Aid Society of New York.
He co-starred with Leslie Caron in Gaby (1956), the third remake of Waterloo Bridge, which, in its 1931 version, featured John's grandfather Frederick Kerr. John Kerr starred with Deborah Kerr in Tea and Sympathy (1956) playing Tom Lee, a sensitive boy of 17 whose lack of interest in the "manly" pursuits of sports, mountain climbing and girls labels him "sister-boy" at the prep school he is attending.

Kerr had a major role in the film version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific (1958), playing Lt. Joe Cable, the newly arrived marine about to be sent on a dangerous spy mission. In The Crowded Sky (1960), Kerr played a pilot who helps the Captain (Dana Andrews) steer a crippled airliner back to earth. His only other notable film appearance was in Roger Corman's The Pit and the Pendulum (1961), co-starring with Vincent Price and Barbara Steele.

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