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Broadway Performer John Kerr Has Died

The star of the 1958 film version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific has passed at the age of 81.

By New York City

John Kerr and France Nuyen in <i>South Pacific</i>
John Kerr and France Nuyen in South Pacific
(© 20th Century Fox)
Broadway and film actor John Kerr, known for his portrayal of Tom Lee in the 1953-1955 production of Robert Anderson's Tea and Sympathy, as well as Lieutenant Joseph Cable in the 1951 film version of South Pacific, has died at the age of 81 in Pasadena, California.

Kerr was born to an acting family in New York City. His parents, Geoffrey Kerr and June Walker, were both stage and film actors, as was his paternal grandfather, Frederick Kerr. He graduated from Harvard University and arrived on Broadway in 1953, where he appeared in Mary Coyle Chase's Bernardine. He went on to appear on Broadway in All Summer Long, The Infernal Machine, and Cue for Passion, as well as Tea and Sympathy.

In addition to his work on South Pacific, John Kerr's film and television career included a role on NBC's Justice, alongside his mother, and the third remake of Waterloo Bridge, the 1931 version of which featured his grandfather. Kerr also appeared on The Crowded Sky, The Pit and the Pendulum, and several episodes of Twelve O'Clock High.

Later in his life, Kerr attended UCLA Law School, and after passing the bar exam, pursued a full-time career as a lawyer in Los Angeles. He retired in 2000.

Kerr fathered two children with his first wife, Priscilla Smith, and became the step-father of the two children of his second wife, Barbara Chu.

Tags: South PacificObituaryJohn KerrTea and Sympathy


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